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THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

"JEWISH LIFE IN MODERN TIMES," ETC. 




BARON VON TAUBE 

ACTING COMMANDANT 



MR. J. POWELL 

CATTAIN 



THE 

RUHLEBEN PRISON 

GAMP: 

A RECORD OF NINETEEN MONTHS' INTERNMENT 

BY 

ISRAEL COHEN 

LATE CHAIRMAN OF THE RUHLEBEN LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY 



WITH TWENTY-SIX ILLUSTRATIONS AND A PLAN 



1 

METHUEN & CO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.C. 

LONDON 



A %l ' 



First Published in 1917 



1 

Id 

G 



TO MY 

BROTHERS AND SISTERS 

WHO 

COMFORTED ME 

IN CAPTIVITY 

THIS CHRONICLE OF 

MY TRAVAILS 

IS GRATEFULLY 

INSCRIBED 



PREFACE 

IT may seem somewhat of a paradox to preface this book 
with the statement that when I first returned to England 
from my captivity I had no intention of writing it : but 
it is a paradox that has the merit of truth. It was only after 
I had realised the general ignorance prevailing in this country 
concerning the conditions in the Ruhleben Camp, and likewise 
the sustained and widespread interest in the welfare of the 
British civilian prisoners interned there, that I resolved to 
write this record of my own internment. 

The Ruhleben Camp is only one of about a hundred and fifty 
prisoners of war camps in Germany, but its name is probably 
the most widely known on this side of the North Sea, owing to 
its being the camp in which all British civilians of military age 
in the German Empire are concentrated, and to the frequency 
with which its affairs have engaged the attention of both Houses 
of Parliament in this country. I was interned there for nineteen 
months, from November 6, 1914, unto June 6, 1916. Previous 
to my internment I was imprisoned for a few days in September, 
1914, solely on the ground of my being a British subject, in the 
" Stadtvogtei Gefangnis," Berlin. On the day of my removal 
to Ruhleben I was again locked up for a few hours in that same 
jail, which served as a collecting-station, and five months later 
I was lodged within its walls for the third and longest period. 

In the following pages I have endeavoured to set forth as 
faithfully as my memory would permit the varied vicissitudes 
through which I passed from the outbreak of the war down to 
my arrival in London. I have confined myself as much as possible 

vii 



viii / THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

to a record of my own experiences and observations, supple- 
mented only to a small extent by the information I gleaned from 
trustworthy fellow-prisoners. I have extenuated nothing, nor 
aught set down in malice, though discretion has impelled me to 
omit various matters that, in the interests of the comrades I 
have left behind me, it would be wise not to publish until the 
Ruhleben Racecourse is restored once more to its original peace- 
ful purpose. The omissions are so trifling, however, in relation 
to the narrative as a whole, that I venture to bespeak for this 
volume the value of an historic document. 

I have tried to make this record as comprehensive and vivid 
as possible by including within it all the manifold aspects, epi- 
sodes, and activities of the captive community ; and I trust 
that I have made it abundantly clear that whatever changes 
have been wrought to render the burden of internment less in- 
tolerable are, to a predominating degree, the result of the collec- 
tive efforts of the prisoners themselves. There is one aspect of 
the Camp life upon which, although I have treated it as fully 
as I could within the limited compass of the present volume, 
an entire book could be written, namely, the purely human — or 
inhuman — aspect. Hundreds of tragedies are being slowly and 
secretly enacted behind the brick walls and barbed wire fence 
of Ruhleben, tragedies that will never be known beyond the 
immediate circle of those whom they concern — of men torn from 
their families, reft of their livelihood, and tormented daily by 
gnawing anxiety about the future struggle for which physical 
privation and mental depression are rendering them more and 
more unfit. Ever since the Ruhleben Camp was established its 
inhabitants have been buoyed up by the hope of its early dis- 
solution. That hope, for more than two years, has proved a 
mere will-o'-the-wisp, and yet it has helped to sustain many 
a brooding and drooping soul from month to month. The British 
and German Governments have at length agreed to exchange 
all civilian prisoners above the age of forty-five, but after this 



PREFACE ix 

agreement is carried out there will still be three thousand 
British civilian prisoners of war at Ruhleben — all men who have 
been denied any of the glories or compensations of war, and who 
will have to resume the battle of life with crippled constitutions. 
No visitor to Ruhleben, whether official or private individual, 
whether neutral or Allied, however profound his sympathy, 
however acute his observation, however shrewd and penetrating 
his sagacity, and however long his visit, can appreciate even a 
tithe of the cumulative effect of the physical, mental, and moral 
sufferings of the men who have been interned there for the last 
two years and more. Friends of their fellow-Englishmen should 
spare no efforts, in the interests of humanity and patriotism, to 
secure the release as early as possible of the remaining captives 
in the Ruhleben Prison Camp. 

ISRAEL COHEN 

London, 

On the Second Anniversary of my Internment ', 
November 6, 1916. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 

I. A Troubled Holiday 

II. My First Imprisonment 

III. At Liberty in Berlin 

IV. The Act of Internment . 
V. Rules, Regimen, and Rumours 

VI. The Segregation of the Jews . 

VII. Administration, Discipline, and Punishment 

VIII. Communal Organization . 

IX. Events of the First Winter 

X. In Prison Again .... 

XI. The Pro-Germans .... 

XII. Social Amenities and Characters 

XIII. Summer Developments 

XIV. Sports and Pastimes 
XV. The Parliamentary By-ElEction 

XVI. Intellectual Activities . 

XVII. Music, Drama, and Art 

XVIII. The Second Winter .... 

XIX. Food and Health Conditions . 

XX. Mental, Moral, and Spiritual Factors 

XXI. Barrack VI .... 

XXII. The Outside World .... 

XXIII. The Exchange of Prisoners 

XXIV. The Second Summer .... 
XXV. My Release 

Appendix ...... 

Index ...... 



XI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Plan of the Ruhleben 


Prison C 


AMP 






Front End 


Paper 


Acting Commandant and Captain 






Frontispiece 


The Military Staff 








FACING PAGE 
• 30 


Author's Horse-Box 














. 46 


The Military Guard 














• 56 


The Civilian Police 














• 56 


Canteen and Stores 














. 68 


Bill-Posting Station 














68 


The " Pond " Store 














. 84 


The Parade in Winter 














84 


The Boer Giant 














. 114 


The Negroes' Barrack 












114 


The Parade in Summer 












124 


Fetching Dinner 












124 


A Cricket Match 












134 


A Boxing Bout . 












134 


Election Scenes and Posters 












142 


Physical Laboratory and Class- 


Room 










152 


The Orchestra 












160 


The Art Studio 












160 


Pantomime Beauty Chorus 












166 


The Theatre 












166 


The Parcels Office 












182 


Interior of Kitchen 












182 


The Chapel 












202 


The Synagogue 












202 


Marching to the Kitch 


2N 












230 



Xlll 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON GAMP 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON 

CAMP 



CHAPTER I 

A TROUBLED HOLIDAY 

The Prelude to the War — Journeying to Schandau — Arrested as " Russian 
spy " — Russian lady's suspected sex — England's war declaration — Visit from 
a gendarme — Confined within bounds — Return to Berlin. 

ALTHOUGH I had been living in Berlin three years 
before the outbreak of the War as correspondent for 
Lsome English papers, and therefore made it my business 
to follow very closely the relations between Germany and England 
as reflected in the German press, the Reichstag, and public meet- 
ings, I confess that I never foresaw the cataclysm that broke 
upon the world in the month of August, 1914. The Liberal 
journals, such as the Berliner Tageblatt, the Vossische Zeitung, 
and the Frankfurter Zeitung, as well as the Radical and Socialist 
parties, always advocated a friendly understanding between 
Germany and England, and even the Conservative press acknow- 
ledged the beneficent influence of England in bringing the 
Balkan Peace Conference to a satisfactory termination. Nor 
did I suspect any serious change in the political horizon when, 
on a glorious Sunday afternoon in June, 19 14, in the animated 
gardens attached to the Grand Berlin Art Exhibition — the Royal 
Academy of the German capital — I read a special news-bill 
pinned to the trunk of a tree, which announced the assassination 
of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy and of his con- 
sort. A journalistic colleague whom I met a fortnight later, and 
who had been living in Berlin for ten years, was also so little 



2 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

moved by this event that he complained of things being dull and 
thought of going away on a holiday. And even after Austria 
declared war upon Serbia, that self -same colleague agreed with 
me that the conflict would most likely be localised, and that 
there was very little probability of England being dragged in. 

So, feeling secure about the future, on the morning after the 
first Austrian shots were fired across the Serbian frontier, I took 
the train for Schandau, a pleasant health resort just beyond 
Dresden, in order to indulge in a much-needed holiday. And I 
thereby wrought my own undoing, for it was not until twenty- 
two months later, of which I spent nineteen in an internment 
camp, and during which I made three distinct sojourns in a 
prison-cell, that I was able at last to set foot on English soil 
again. My colleagues who remained behind in Berlin all became 
very wise after the event, and although they may stoutly protest 
that they " saw the thing coming all the time," they were so 
little prepared for England's entry into the war arena that they 
fled from their homes and lodgings merely with a handbag in 
order to get a seat in the Ambassador's train. 

There was plenty of war in the air during my journey, for the 
train was crowded with Austrian reservists, who were travelling 
with their wives and families, in a spirit of resignation, to fight 
for the Fatherland. At Dresden we received a further batch of 
reservists, and on my crossing the Elbe in a ferry-boat and 
entering the pretty townlet of Schandau I noticed that there 
was keen excitement, for all the Austrian and Hungarian visitors, 
of whom there were a large number, were busy packing up for 
home, and the hotel-keepers began to feel a little uneasy. By 
the end of the week the exodus of the Russians also began, and 
the hotel-keepers and boarding-house keepers looked still more 
uneasy. And when the Germans too, after the Kaiser issued the 
order of mobilisation, began to pack up their traps, the prospect 
certainly looked alarming. But all the papers were unanimously 
agreed that England, "our cousin across the sea," would keep 
out of the conflict, and so I remained at the homely " pension," 
in the shadow of the pine-clad mountains, and strolled about 
the leafy promenades, listening to the local band, composed 
half of boys, which broke the stillness of the air repeatedly 
with the resonant strains of " Deutschland, Deutschland iiber 
Alles." 



A TROUBLED HOLIDAY 3 

On the first Monday in August, when the mobilisation was 
already in fall swing, and the walls were plastered with all sorts 
of patriotic proclamations, there was a regular hunt for Russians 
by the police, for a wild rumour had got about that there was a 
den of Russian spies in the neighbourhood. The search was 
futile, and the police mopped their brows in despair. The 
following morning I went as usual to fetch my correspondence 
from the post-office, which was situated opposite the quaint old 
Rathaus ; and I had no sooner received my correspondence 
than a policeman, who had evidently been watching for me 
from the opposite window, strode with dangling sabre into the 
office, seized my papers, and demanded my passport. I pro- 
duced the document, which I had always carried with me since 
my settlement in Berlin, and opened it out on the public desk. 
The constable, a veritable Dogberry, scrutinised it with suspicion. 

" What is this ? " he cried. " Are you a Russian ? " 

"No," I replied. " I am an Englishman." 

" How am I to know that ? " he retorted. "This passport isn't 
in German ! You will have to come with me." 

I politely explained that English passports were invariably 
printed in English, and as a concession pointed out that mine 
had been issued by the British Consulate in Berlin. Herr Schutz- 
mann Dogberry looked sullen and bade me accompany him to the 
Rathaus opposite, where I was led into an inner room, whilst my 
papers were taken possession of by a clerk who puzzled over 
them in vain. I heard Dogberry whisper with a scowl : " Rus- 
sischer Spion ! " but the clerk shook his head wisely and scepti- 
cally. Then a beer-bellied baker, with a reputed mastery of 
English, was summoned, in his shirt-sleeves and flour-strewn 
trousers, from the Post Strasse, to co-operate in deciphering the 
documents ; and after a quarter of an hour of suspense I was 
allowed to leave again with my correspondence. 

As I descended the stairs into the street I saw a middle-aged 
lady escorted by five workmen, and followed by a crowd of 
women and children, making for the Town Hall. The workmen 
had been occupied in repairing a barge on the bank of the Elbe, 
and they had noticed the lady walking all alone and suspiciously 
watching them, and they found out that she was Russian and 
felt sure that she was " a man in disguise." So the local doctor 
was sent for with his Polish wife in order to clear up the mystery, 



4 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

whilst the crowd awaited the result with bated breath. But 
presently the workmen, who had been congratulating themselves 
on their splendid capture, slowly descended the stairs with 
dejected faces and muttered " Eine Frau ! " — whereupon the 
crowd dispersed in disappointment. 

That same evening I read an announcement in the window of 
the local Selfridge, where all the latest bulletins were posted, 
that England had declared war on Germany, and the following 
morning, whilst I was at breakfast, I received a visit from the 
local Gendarmerie Brigadier, who arrived on his bicycle. He was 
a tall, burly individual, and armed to the teeth, with rifle, re- 
volver, and sword, as though he had come to arrest a band of 
anarchists. He demanded my passport, and like his colleague, 
Herr Schutzmann Dogberry, he also exclaimed : " But this isn't 
in German ! " So I translated the document to him, and after 
I had answered his various questions and he made notes of my 
replies, he informed me that he would have to send my passport 
and his report to the Commandant of the nearest garrison, and 
asked me to call on him in three days. At the appointed time 
1 returned the visit and found the Brigadier in his shirt-sleeves 
at home. He immediately donned his uniform and dignity, and 
produced from his desk a military report which he read out. 
I was to be carefully watched but treated considerately ; I was 
not to attempt any correspondence nor walk beyond the limits 
of the township ; and my passport would be held until I wished 
to return to Berlin, when it would be restored to me. 

So I remained and recuperated at Schandau, keeping well 
within bounds, and paying visits morning and evening to the 
Post Strasse to study the latest bulletins in the window of the 
principal grocer and chandler, and to listen to the sagacious and 
enthusiastic comments of the villagers upon every fresh crop of 
victories. The war was already making itself felt in this little 
community even in those early weeks, for every man of the 
reserve up to forty years was called up, every sound horse in the 
district was bought up for the army, and a staff of special con- 
stables was enrolled, who, wearing a white badge on their sleeve, 
patrolled the district by day and kept guard, with the aid of a 
rifle, by night on the railway bridge across the Elbe. Enthusiasm 
was diligently maintained by the local band, which played 
patriotic airs and military marches by day and night, and though 



A TROUBLED HOLIDAY 5 

it repeatedly proclaimed " Lieb Vaterland, magst ruhig sein ! ' 
it certainly mrde the surrounding neighbourhood very unruhig. 
I was unable to send off any correspondence not merely to 
England but to any part of Germany, and the only post I received 
consisted of a picture postcard and a corrected proof addressed 
to my London publisher, which, though they were dispatched 
on July 30th, were returned a fortnight later from Dresden 
" wegen Kriegsziistand." The Dresden postal authorities had 
apparently kept these things back as a precautionary measure, 
for England did not declare war until five days later. I felt that 
my position was becoming gradually uncomfortable, for even 
a sedate Hungarian professor was molested by the inhabitants 
on suspicion of being a Russian spy and was advised by the 
Burgomaster to return home ; so at the end of August I obtained 
my passport again and likewise an officially stamped statement 
of the time I had spent in the district (in anticipation of any 
later inquisition about my personal movements), and then took 
train for Berlin. 

On the way I noticed that every railway bridge was guarded 
by a couple of sentries, for there was an epidemic of fear that the 
land was overrun with Russian spies who had bombs in every 
pocket to blow up bridges. I therefore expected that all pas- 
sengers arriving at the Berlin terminus would be challenged, and 
was not a little surprised that I was able to get a taxi and return 
to my rooms quite unmolested and unquestioned. 



CHAPTER II 

MY FIRST IMPRISONMENT 

The need of a police permit — Visit to the Police Presidency — Confinement 
in " Stadtvogtei " Prison — My cell companions — Furniture and fixtures — New 
acquaintances in the prison yard — Scene at the British Consulate — " Skilly " 
for supper — Night reflections — " Breakfast " — Fellow-prisoners' stories — A new 
arrival — A momentous interview — Release. 

THE following morning my landlady informed me that 
I had to apply to the police for a permit to stay in Berlin ; 
and a Russian friend, who had already enjoyed a few 
days' internment in the Doberitz Camp, also impressed upon me 
the necessity of securing the permit, otherwise I might be arrested 
at any moment. But upon applying at the local police station 
I was told that I had been registered as having departed (abge- 
meldet) two years ago. Here was a remarkable flaw in the 
Prussian police machine ! I had been paying my taxes regularly, 
or rather irregularly, for the last two years, and yet according 
to the police register I was no longer living in the district. Had 
I known that, I might have gone on living in the neighbourhood 
unmolested for months afterwards, unless some ultra-patriotic 
neighbour denounced me. But as 1 had already decided to move 
to another district I should in any case have come into the police 
books again. To rectify matters I had to fill up three forms 
announcing my fresh arrival in the old district ; a day later, 
three more forms announcing my departure ; and on the next 
day, three more forms announcing my arrival in the new district. 
After this succession of formalities I felt that I had richly earned 
my permit, but when I applied at the police station in my new 
district I was told that I must make personal application to the 
Polizei Presidium (Police Presidency) in the centre of the city. 

Accordingly I betook myself the following morning to this 
central police station, and on the way, in Unter den Linden, 

6 



MY FIRST IMPRISONMENT 7 

I leisurely inspected the first captured Russian and French guns 
which had been brought into Berlin, a few days ago, with a pro- 
cession of dust-stained soldiers. After wandering about in the 
corridors of che huge rambling building of the Police Presidency 
I at last came to a door on which was affixed a label, " Eng- 
lander," and I noticed that the adjacent doors were labelled 
" Franzosen," " Russen," and " Belgier ' respectively. The 
room that I entered was occupied by half a dozen men who 
apparently had nothing more serious to do than to bandy jokes 
with one another. The man at the head of the table asked me 
my business, and when I demanded a permit to stay in Berlin, 
he asked me my name, age, and occupation. Upon stating that 
I was a journalist, he replied, as though he had made a neat 
capture : " Aha ! We shan't let you go ! " 

" I don't mind stopping in this country until the war is over," 
I innocently replied, thinking — as most people then thought — 
that the whole war would be over within six months, and cherish- 
ing a vision of myself as the first English correspondent to send 
a wire from Berlin describing the peace celebrations. 

" You'll stop right enough," remarked the official, as he 
hurriedly wrote out a slip which he gave to a colleague. The 
latter, a portly individual, with a gruff voice, said to me : " Come 
along with me ! " and I followed. 

I began to scent trouble, and as we passed along corridors and 
descended flights of stairs, I asked my escort whither he was 
taking me. 

" You are under arrest ! " he replied. 

" Under arrest ? " I echoed. " Why, what have I done ? 
Can I not see somebody in authority and explain the position ? ' 
" You will have an opportunity later on," said the official, 
as he led me out of the building across the street into another 
building. Presently we came to a little door which was opened 
by a prison warder, and before I could recover my breath, the 
official handed me over into custody with his written authorisa- 
tion, and disappeared. The warder then thrust into my hands 
a small bundle of prison laundry — blue-checked sheets, tattered 
towel and jagged comb — and bade me follow him upstairs. 
We went along the corridor, he unlocked a small cell, and he 
bade me enter. For the moment I was quite aghast : it was my 
first introduction to a prison cell. 



8 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

" Put that jug out for water ! " he said, pointing to a brown 
earthenware pitcher in the far corner of the cell. 

I took the jug and placed it outside the door, when another 
warder, farther along the corridor, called out : " There is room 
for another in my cell." So I was transferred to a large cell 
where there were already two prisoners ; and the warder, after 
saying that I could write whatever letters I liked, bolted and 
locked the heavy door upon us. 

" What is the meaning of this ? " I asked, as soon as I could 
recover from my astonishment. 

" It's nothing to get excited about," replied one of the prisoners. 
"I've been here over four weeks now, since the 5th of August, 
and my friend has been here three weeks." 

The speaker was a pale-faced man, of slight build, in the 
thirties, who was born in Russia. He had lived for the past 
sixteen years in South Africa, where he had become naturalised, 
and then, at the end of June, 1914, started on a trip to Europe 
in order to visit his mother in Russia. He arrived in Berlin on 
August 1st, and could go neither forward nor backward, so 
stayed at an hotel in Unter den Linden, where, on the morning 
after England's declaration of war, he was arrested. His com- 
panion was a young Russian medical student, who had been 
attending lectures at the Berlin University, and during the few 
weeks of their common captivity they had become close friends. 

" Tell me," I asked, " is there nothing to be done to get out 
of here ? " — and I glanced disconsolately at the primitive furni- 
ture of the cell and the bars outside the thick ribbed window. 

' If you have any influential friends in Berlin, write to them 
at once," they advised. " Then wait until the military repre- 
sentative calls here again, and you can put your case before him. 
He was here this morning, but won't be here again till next 
Tuesday. So the best thing is to settle down and wait patiently. 
But tell us, how long do you think the war will last ? ' 

" About six months," I hazarded. 

' What, six months ! " they cried with alarm. " Why, if we 
have to stop here all that time we shall go mad ! " 

I sat down on a wooden stool at a long wooden table and gazed 
round the cell. It was a clean, bright, white-painted room, with 
one window that looked down upon a courtyard. There were two 
tiers of two beds each, the entire accommodation being for four 



MY FIRST IMPRISONMENT 9 

men, and the Russian student, with whom I had to speak German, 
generously help :d me to put my bed in order. There were four 
small wooden racks affixed to the wall, each of which con- 
tained an earthenware bowl for soup, a white mug for coffee, a 
plate, spoon, knife, salt cellar, washing-basin, soap, a German 
New Testament and Prayer Book, as well as a printed booklet 
of prison regulations. There was also a pictorial design showing 
the exact relative positions in which all these objects should be 
placed, and giving a different position for the mattresses and 
bolster for each day of the month. Fortunately, there was a 
water-tap and sink in the cell — and an adjoining water-closet. 

My fellow-prisoners lent me paper and envelopes, and I 
scribbled off some letters to a few friends. Then one of them 
pushed a little projecting rod in the wall, I heard a click, and 
presently the door was unbolted and unlocked, and the warder 
took my letters and withdrew. They explained to me that the 
pushing of the little rod caused a small red flag of iron to protrude 
outside, and this attracted the warder's attention. The device 
was almost as ingenious as an electric bell. 

It was midday when I was put into the cell, and as I had 
breakfasted at eight o'clock that morning I was hungry. But the 
prison " dinner " had already been served at eleven, and the next 
meal would not arrive until half-past four. Nor could I order 
anything that day from outside, as all such orders had to be given 
by nine o'clock. So my fellow-prisoners placed their stock of 
bread and cheese at my disposal, which I washed down with cold 
water. 

At three o'clock I heard the cells in our corridor being un- 
locked and unbolted again ; gradually the noise approached our 
own cell ; and I felt a sensation of profound relief when the door 
was thrown open and I was told we could go down into the 
courtyard for an hour's exercise. When I reached the yard I 
was surprised at the great number of prisoners who were walking 
about, mostly in groups of twos and threes. There were about 
a hundred and fifty altogether ; two-thirds Englishmen, the rest 
Russians, Frenchmen, and Belgians, and they were mostly 
between the ages of twenty and forty. I found among them an 
old London fellow-student, who had been a teacher of languages 
in Berlin, and who told me that he and most of the Englishmen 
had been there since the 5th of August. 



10 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

" On the morning after England declared war," he related, 
" I went to the British Consulate, where I found a large number 
of other Englishmen, in order to get advice about leaving the 
country. Suddenly a couple of policemen appeared, drew their 
revolvers, declared that we were prisoners of war, and threatened 
to shoot any man who attempted to leave. The Consul had left 
the night before. Presently a ' Black Maria ' drew up, and we 
were removed in it to the Polizei Prasidium, where we were put 
through a regular catechism. Those whose answers were satis- 
factory were given a written permit to stay in Berlin, and have 
to report themselves every three days to the police. The rest 
of us were brought here. I have tried to get myself bailed out, 
but without success." 

I was struck by the cheerful spirits of this little community of 
prisoners, who fraternised with one another as though they 
formed one big family. Some were playing cards on stools 
which they had brought down with them ; others were playing 
chess ; some were throwing a ball about ; whilst most of them 
were strolling round and round the small quadrangle and chat- 
ting in various languages. One or two Russians had already 
begun to teach their language in exchange for English. From 
the courtyard we could see nothing of the outside world, though 
we could distinctly hear the clanging of electric tramcars and the 
myriad sounds of the tumultuous traffic, for we were surrounded 
by a six-storied building. All that we saw were red brick walls 
and barred windows. The prisoners were drawn from various 
professions — engineers, chemists, teachers, clerks, jockeys, 
students, variety artists — and presented a number of contrasted 
types. There was also among them an American negro, who, in 
his cups, had wished the Kaiser to a place from where he would 
have been unable to direct the military operations. 

When the hour was over, a warder, with a huge bunch of keys, 
appeared beneath the arch which formed the opening to the 
courtyard, and we began to stream leisurely back up the stone 
stairs to our respective cells, which were situated on different 
floors. As I passed along the corridor I noticed that on each 
door there was a slip of paper with the letter E, R, F, or B, 
according as the cell contained an Englishman, Russian, French- 
man, or Belgian, whilst in the case of cells with several inmates 
there was a corresponding figure before the letter. All the 



MY FIRST IMPRISONMENT 11 

prisoners stood in the doorway of their cell until the warder came 
to lock it, so eager were they to enjoy every possible additional 
moment of comparative liberty. 

Locked in my cell once more, I discussed with my fellow- 
prisoners the cases of some of the other men confined in this jail, 
and was amazed to hear of the brutality to which some of them 
had been exposed before they were brought to the " Stadtvogtei." 
' This is a very decent prison," remarked the Russian student. 
" You should have been at Moabit or Ploetzensee : you are 
treated there like convicts. Here you can get anything you want, 
if you pay for it, except your liberty." 

Presently the cell-door was opened again, and two convicts, 
in dirty blue clothes, under the charge of a warder, brought in a 
pail of some whitish soup for our " supper " at half-past four ! 
I followed the example of my fellow-prisoners and presented my 
bowl for a portion. After the warder had locked the door again, 
I sat down to my repast, but though I tried to swallow two or 
three spoonfuls of the stuff I had to give it up : it was a sticky, 
indigestible species of " skilly," which my comrades by dint of 
practice succeeded in getting down. For me there was nothing 
left but to throw the stuff into a bucket and clean my bowl under 
the tap. I then helped myself to more bread and cheese, washed 
down again with water. 

We spent the evening, partly in discussing one another's 
prospects of liberation, and partly in playing draughts. We had 
neither draughtboard nor pieces, but the Russian student, who 
smoked cigarettes incessantly, quickly designed a board on the 
inside cover of an exercise-book, and we made pieces out of a 
cardboard cigarette-box. The South African was very restless 
and depressed, strutting up and down the cell with downcast 
chin and hands in his pockets, and jumping up every now and 
again on to his bed, on which he sat with dangling legs and 
speculated how long the war would last. 

We had an electric light in our room and were allowed to enjoy 
the benefit of it until nine o'clock. But five minutes before that 
hour we had all got into our respective beds, awaiting the foot- 
step of the warder who switched off the light. We continued 
talking for some time until my comrades fell asleep, but I re- 
mained awake for hours. I occupied a lower bed, and the mattress 
was as hard as the table. I kept tossing from side to side, wonder- 



12 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

ing how long it might be my fate to remain in that prison, and 
reproaching myself for not having tried in the early days to escape 
from Schandau across the Austrian frontier — a journey of only 
fifteen minutes by rail — before war was declared between England 
and Austria. Throughout the night I heard the slow, stealthy 
pacing of the warder in the corridor, and felt a peculiar sensation 
whenever he stopped at our door, lifted the disc over the peep- 
hole, and peered into the darkness of our cell. 

The following morning, at half-past six, our door was unlocked 
again, and we rose and washed. Half an hour later a couple of 
Polish convicts brought in a pail of brownish liquid, which they 
called "kawa" (coffee), and another came with a basket containing 
chunks of brown bread, or "chleb," as he called it. I found it 
difficult to believe that the liquid was coffee, for there was not 
even the most remote family resemblance. I could detect no 
milk and trace no sugar. But it was something hot, and one was 
grateful even for that. Then a warder came round to take 
orders, and I put myself down for some butter, cheese, sausage, 
and beer, besides a shilling dinner from a neighbouring restaurant. 

At nine o'clock we again trooped out of our cells down into 
the yard, where I extended my acquaintance with my fellow- 
prisoners. Some told me that they had originally possessed the 
police permit to live in Berlin, but had omitted one day to report 
themselves at the police station, and were arrested the following 
morning while in bed. Others had been denounced by German 
neighbours or fellow-lodgers as spies. There was a Russian 
student who had once been released from this prison ; but in 
an unguarded moment he said something indiscreet to his land- 
lady and her daughter, with the result that an hour later two 
police officials arrested him in his room, placed him in a dark 
cell overnight in a local prison, and then brought him back to 
the " Stadtvogtei." He went about in deadly fear lest he might 
be shot, and we tried to assure him that he would not have been 
placed in our midst if he were doomed to such a fate. 

Soon after we were back again in our cell the warder brought 
a big basket with our orders, and ticked off the articles on his 
list as he handed them out. We paid him a little beyond the 
due amount, and I calculated that he must be making quite a 
respectable income out of tips. 

Presently the door was unlocked again, and a young fellow 



MY FIRST IMPRISONMENT 13 

of twenty was brought in, astonished and protesting. ' This is 
scandalous ! " he exclaimed. " I simply went to get a police 
permit to stop in Berlin, and they shove me in here. Did you 
ever hear of anything so annoying ? " 

I told him that I did know of something equally annoying — 
my own unexpected imprisonment, and advised him to com- 
municate with his friends or relatives. So he at once sent off 
a letter to his uncle, in whose large business-house he was em- 
ployed. Having already been in the jail twenty-four hours I 
felt like an old stager, and initiated the youngster into the 
various arrangements and regulations ; and when he had com- 
pletely recovered from his surprise he pulled out a pack of cards 
and began to perform a number of tricks. The restaurant dinner 
of three courses, which I soon received, was very welcome after 
the frugal fare on which I had been living, although the soup was 
quite cold. 

The hours dragged on like days, the days like weeks. On the 
evening of the day after his arrival our young friend was released. 
We were engaged in a quiet game of " vingt et un" when suddenly 
the heavy bolts were pushed aside, the door was unlocked, and 
the head warder, with grizzled beard, beckoned in the direction 
of the youngster and said : " The hour has struck. You are 
free." 

" Hurrah ! " exclaimed the youth. " By Jove, won't I go on 
the razzle-dazzle to-night ! " 

We wished him luck and he vanished. " His uncle must have 
some influence," remarked the Russian student. 

At length the morning arrived when the representative of the 
Royal Prussian War Office paid his visit to the prison, to listen 
to personal petitions for release. I was told that he could only 
see about twelve or fifteen men each time, as his stay was limited, 
and it was therefore advisable to get as near as possible to the 
top of the line of waiting applicants. Fortunately, I secured an 
early place, and I waited impatiently and hopefully. 

"He's in a good temper this morning," was the cheering 
message that 1 heard from the lips of a prisoner just liberated. 

My turn came, and I entered a small room, in which was seated 
a military officer, clean-shaven and ascetic-looking, with high 
red collar and shining brass buttons on his blue tunic. He bowed 
slightly as he beckoned me to a chair. 



14 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

" What have you to say ? " he asked, gazing at me with his 
grey, searching eyes. " You know that in England all Germans 
of military age are prisoners." 

I put my case as well as I could — urging that England had no 
conscription, that if I had remained at Schandau I should have 
been left at liberty, and that some friends of mine on the staff 
of the Berlin University could testify to my good behaviour. 
I also produced a reader's card of the Royal Prussian Library — 
the " British Museum " of Berlin — and a letter from my American 
publisher, as proof of my literary activity and harmless character. 
He fumbled among his papers, and then, after some hesitation, 
said : " We are rather strict with Englishmen, but I shall let 
you go this time. But don't say anything about it outside, or 
you may find yourself here again. I shall give you a permit 
with which you must go straight to the police station in your 
district, and then you must present yourself there with it every 
third day." 

A clerk at his side filled out the permit for me, and as I took 
the precious document the officer remarked : " Good luck, and 
be careful ! " He turned to listen to the application of a Russian 
feuilletonist, and I passed out through the opposite door. A 
warder examined my permit and showed me down the stairs into 
the street, and as I slipped a coin into his palm I drew a deep 
breath of relief. The following day all who were still in the 
prison were transferred to the Ruhleben Concentration Camp. 



CHAPTER III 

AT LIBERTY IN BERLIN 

Reporting to the police — The War atmosphere — Gaiety in the West End — 
Inspired newspapers — Celebration of victories — Children's holidays and war- 
games — Visits to the Grunewald — Calls at the American Embassy — Offices of 
British Relief Fund raided — A foreknowledge of Ruhleben — The American 
Church Library — Mental effects of reporting to police — Premonitions of intern- 
ment — Agitation by the press — Announcement of an ultimatum. 

MY four days' imprisonment had made a profound im- 
pression upon me. It was the most singular adventure 
that I had ever experienced, and I relished my newly 
gained liberty so keenly that I felt inclined to ask the staid old 
gentleman who sat next to me in the tram that bore me home- 
wards whether he had ever been in prison too, and how he had 
liked to be at liberty again. But the parting warning of the 
military officer acted as a curb upon my loquacity, and I kept 
my secret to myself. Before returning to my lodgings I called 
at the police local station and presented my domicile permit. 

" It has taken you some time to get this," said the police 
official, as he entered my name and address into a special book 
and stamped the document on the back with the date. 

" I had to wait," I replied significantly. 

He hummed in response. " Well, every third day now." 

He returned me the permit and I felt as happy as if the freedom 
of the city had been conferred upon me. I informed my landlady 
that I had been staying with a friend, but she looked rather 
dubious about the explanation of my absence, and said it was 
no business of hers where I had been, so long as she could keep 
her flat respectable. 

For the next two months I was free, but it was only a relative 
freedom that I enjoyed, for I had to present myself every third 
day, like a " ticket-of-leave," at the police station, and I could 
not leave Berlin even for a neighbouring city. Thanks to a friend 

15 



16 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

in Holland I got into communication for the first time with my 
relatives in England, but I breathed no word of the hospitality 
I had enjoyed at the hands of the Berlin Municipality. Unable 
to engage in any journalistic activity, and afraid that anything I 
might write would one day be seized by the police with a view to 
discover my political views, I decided to give my pen a rest. 
But fortunately I received some translation work of a non- 
political character to do, and I was thus able to use part of my 
leisure in a profitable manner. The rest of my time I devoted 
to reading and to a careful study of the German papers ; but I 
was unable to continue reading at the Royal Prussian Library, 
as that was closed to all Germany's enemies. 

Berlin in those months made upon me the impression of a city 
that was thoroughly confident of a German victory. The trium- 
phal entry of the Kaiser at the head of his troops into Paris by 
Christmas, 1914, was generally predicted as a certainty ; but I 
studiously refrained from discussing the situation with my 
neighbours, as I knew that their views simply reflected the con- 
tents of the newspapers, and I did not want my own views to 
get me into further trouble. The lower middle classes and the 
poor were already faced with the difficulty of making ends meet, 
for although everything could then be obtained, prices had 
already risen a little, while wages had sunk a great deal, and 
thus cheap soup-kitchens and restaurants had to be opened, 
where the needy could obtain a nourishing meal for fourpence. 
There was also a free tea-room opened in the Exhibition Halls 
near the Zoological Gardens ; it was intended for students, 
artists, and journalists, of whom there was a big colony in the 
neighbourhood, and who could get there a cup of tea and biscuits, 
read the current periodicals, and write ; but the place became 
uncomfortably crowded when typists secured admittance as 
journalists, and artists' models as artists. 

But for the most part Berlin wore the same aspect as in days 
of peace. True, all the notorious haunts of pleasure in the 
vicinity of Friedrich Strasse were closed, and most of their gay 
frequenters were interned in houses of detention where they 
were employed upon useful work. But though the heart of the 
city became more sober and quiet, the appearance of the West 
End, of Charlottenburg, the Tauentzien Strasse, and Kurfiir- 
stendamm, with the usual evening procession of well-dressed 



AT LIBERTY IN BERLIN 17 

flaneurs, and " demi-mondaines," and " semi-demi-mondaines," 
changed but little, except for a more liberal sprinkling of officers 
and soldiers in " field-grey," together with some wounded 
warriors who limped along with ashen faces. The theatres, 
music-halls, and cinema palaces were as crowded as ever they 
were before ; the restaurants and cafes were just as well stocked 
with things to consume and people to consume them ; and the 
orchestras were just as industrious in churning out Viennese 
waltzes, without too frequent alternations in the form of patriotic 
melodies. I witnessed an amusing revue at the Palast Theater 
am Zoo, in which the early days of the war were merrily mir- 
rored, and each of Germany's enemies, before their respective 
declarations, was lauded as a friend and then damned as an 
enemy ; and in which the rotund hero escaped from his hen- 
pecking wife by joining the army : a performance that naturally 
concluded with a grand patriotic demonstration. 

So far as news about the war was concerned I was wholly 
confined to the German press, for although anxious to study the 
situation through English spectacles, I was not disposed to pay 
a mark for a single copy of The Times, the prohibitive price that 
was demanded, nor was I disposed to make myself a suspect by 
calling for an English paper in a well-frequented cafe. The 
channels of intelligence to which I was limited coloured my view 
to some extent, for how was one to know, or who could suspect, 
that the various diplomatic documents from the Belgian Govern- 
ment archives, which the German authorities published from 
time to time in vindication of their policy, were not perfectly 
genuine ? I can well understand why the German people, at 
that time and for many months afterwards, had absolute con- 
fidence in their ultimate victory, for their papers — strictly con- 
trolled and carefully censored — told them of nothing but German 
triumphs, and the war map confirmed these glowing reports, un- 
clouded as yet by the British blockade. Frequent were the 
demonstrations of joy at the capture of 50,000 Russians, or 
20,000 Frenchmen, or 10,000 Englishmen. Frantic speeches 
were delivered in Potsdamer Platz (where Liebknecht was after- 
wards arrested) by white-haired old gentlemen who had fought 
in '66 and '70. Military officers in cafes were toasted and treated 
by utter strangers, and the orchestra would follow up some vapid 
operatic melody with the thunderous strains of "Die Wacht am 



18 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Rhein," in which the whole assembly — men, women, and children 
— would solemnly join. 

The people were well supplied with papers, for in addition to 
the usual publications of the week, there were even on Sundays 
midday and evening papers besides the morning editions with 
their multifold supplements. Victories were celebrated by a 
joyous display of German and Austro-Hungarian flags, fluttering 
over public buildings and suspended from private windows, 
whilst in humble by-streets ropes with flags and bunting were 
slung across the road. The happiest merry-makers were the 
children, who were always given a holiday to rejoice at some 
great discomfiture of the enemy. During the two months that 
I spent in Berlin, between my imprisonment and my internment, 
there must have been at least a dozen of such holidays, ordained 
by the Prussian Ministry of Education. The children came to 
the school in the morning, listened to an address by the head- 
master upon the significance of the latest victory, sang the 
National Anthem with gusto, and were then dismissed for the 
rest of the day. They spent most of their holiday in playing at 
soldiers : armed with a wooden sword, and wearing a cricket belt 
and a paper helmet, they would go through a regular drill, four 
in a row, in the middle of the road, and then march to the martial 
tattoo of a toy drum, until they met another ragged urchin army, 
which they designated the enemy and promptly attacked. These 
children showed the imitative instinct in a very marked degree, 
for they would lie flat on the ground, four in a row, and make 
a pretence of shooting with their dummy guns at some passing 
milk-cart, as though it were an armoured train. But children 
of older years, boys of fourteen and upwards, were taken by their 
teachers to the forest on the west of Berlin, the Grunewald, where 
they were taught drilling and scouting. Many an afternoon, as I 
sat in a garden cafe, where spectacled matrons knitted grey socks 
for the field-grey warriors at the front, I would watch these 
youngsters in their coloured caps, many of them taller than their 
anaemic teachers, as they played at warlike exercises ; and I 
wonder now how many of them have since been promoted to the 
real operations of war — and survived them. In one of my rambles 
through the Grunewald I came across a captive French officer in 
the charge of a German officer : he was pale and walked with a 
slow step, and probably belonged to a military hospital in the 



AT LIBERTY IN BERLIN 19 

neighbourhood ; but as I was an alien enemy, and afraid that 
I had technically trespassed beyond the bounds of Berlin, I 
thought discretion the better part of curiosity and asked no 
questions. But in the days before trains and trams were plastered 
with notices about the " Danger of Spies " I often entered into 
conversation with wounded soldiers in the street or in the over- 
head electric railway, and they were candid enough to tell me 
that they owed their wounds to British bullets, and hoped that 
it would be months before they were well enough to be sent back 
to the slaughter. 

Once a week I went down to the American Embassy in the 
Wilhelm Platz to see if there was any news, and there, or rather 
on the pavement opposite the entrance to the Embassy, I met 
a little colony of Englishmen and a few Englishwomen, who used 
to assemble every morning to discuss their plight and the pros- 
pects of the war. The Embassy had already begun to advise all 
Englishwomen to leave the country as soon as possible, but there 
was only one train a month for Holland, on the 6th, and many 
were the messages given to the happy women on the eve of their 
departure. On one of* my visits to the Wilhelm Platz (at the end 
of September, so far as I remember) I heard of the raid made 
one evening by the German police upon the offices of the British 
Relief Fund, when the principal officials were arrested and all 
the books and papers were confiscated. The two leading officials 
were placed in solitary confinement in the Moabit prison, and 
after four months were transferred to Ruhleben, where I met 
them. The work of British relief was then taken over by the 
American Embassy. For a short time we were also able to for- 
ward letters to England through the Embassy, but the German 
Government objected that this was a violation of neutrality, 
and so we were soon deprived of the facility. 

For the first time after many, many weeks, I also saw a Times 
again, openly displayed and discussed by my fellow-Englishmen 
in the Wilhelm Platz, who little feared the intervention of the 
policeman prowling in the square, as he certainly could not 
distinguish the publication of Printing House Square from the 
Continental Times sold at the doorway of the American Embassy, 
the willing mouthpiece of the Kaiser's Government, which paid 
the piper and called for the tune. On one occasion I also met at 
the Embassy an English civilian prisoner from Ruhleben, whom 



20 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

I had known at the Stadtvogtei Prison, and who was given a 
day's furlough in charge of a soldier, to discharge some private 
business. It was from him that I heard the first account of the 
conditions at the Ruhleben Camp, and his story certainly did 
not prepossess me in favour of it. He told us that we could see 
the Camp if we cared to visit him there, but with all our sym- 
pathy for him we were not disposed to put our head into the 
lion's den, especially as it was a moot point whether Ruhleben 
was not beyond the borders of Berlin. 

There was only one other place in those days where I heard 
English spoken, though in a somewhat different accent. That 
was the Reading Room attached to the American Church, in 
the Motz Strasse. There I could read the leading American 
daily and weekly papers, but they were generally three weeks 
old, and there was little profit in studying stale descriptions of 
the military situation that had since been reversed. I neverthe- 
less enjoyed the perusal of such papers as The Outlook and The 
Literary Digest, and even to hear the other readers — mostly 
matronly ladies and their daughters — gossip with one another 
was something to relieve the day's monotony, though the burden 
of the conversation was generally a complaint at the long delay 
of the mails from home, and a feeling of disgust with the President 
for not sending the weekly mails on an American warship. 

Throughout this period I diligently and punctually called at 
the local police station, produced my permit, and received it 
again with the date stamped on the back. Not a word passed 
between me and the police official, who sat at a desk protected 
by a low wooden railing, which prevented visitors from approach- 
ing too near. To be quite accurate, I said " Gut' Morgen " as I 
entered the office, and the official, as he took my paper, mechani- 
cally responded without looking up ; but as a rule no words 
relating to my status or to the purpose of my visit were ex- 
changed. And I no sooner left the office than I reckoned out on 
what day my next visit would take place, and the name of that 
day would loom large and all-important in my mind for the 
ensuing seventy-two hours. It became a perfect obsession : it 
flitted through all my thoughts, dominated all my plans, and 
even penetrated my dreams. It was my last thought when I 
retired to bed, and my first when I awoke in the morning. I was 
always in dread of a misreckoning. I sometimes fancied that I 



AT LIBERTY IN BERLIN 21 

had allowed three whole days to pass without calling at the 
station, and that the following morning would be the fourth 
since my last visit, and a cold sweat crept over me as I fumbled 
for my permit and noted the last date, and a sigh of relief escaped 
me when I found that I was still on the right side of the calendar, 
and that there was no need to fear arrest for failure to report 
on the right morning. 

But from the middle of October I began to feel uneasy. One 
morning the police official asked me how long I had lived in 
Germany before the war, whether I had lived in any other town 
before Berlin, what my occupation was, my age, and kindred 
questions, and as he noted down my replies I felt that these were 
required for something more than statistical purposes. Another 
morning he asked me more definitely whether I was doing any 
work and who was my employer, and I gently explained that the 
nature of my profession condemned me to be unemployed until 
the end of the war, whereat he was visibly pleased. But as I left 
him and reflected on the significance of his questions, I felt more 
and more that there was some further measure of restriction 
impending. A German friend endeavoured to reassure me by 
explaining that there was a growing ill-feeling against English- 
men who were taking jobs vacated by Germans called to the 
colours ; that the Government wished to ascertain to what 
extent this complaint was well-founded ; and that as I was not 
personally concerned I need not fear any reprisal. I then made 
the acquaintance of another Englishman, who used to report at 
the same police station, and if I met him as he came out I would 
ask whether any further questions had been put to him. 

The horizon gradually darkened. Disquieting stories began to 
appear in the daily press of the arrest and internment in England 
of Germans of military age. Harrowing descriptions were given 
of inhuman conditions in Newbury Camp. And then Dr. Carl 
Peters, who had taken refuge in England while exposing the 
abuses in Germany's African colonies, returned to the Fatherland 
and made atonement by writing venomous attacks on England's 
treatment of his brethren. Even the Liberal papers, the Berliner 
Tageblatt and the Frankfurter Zeiiung, which had hitherto main- 
tained that English civilians in Germany had nothing to fear, 
as the war was conducted only against their country, began to 
yield to the popular clamour and declared that if the stories about 



22 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Germans in England proved to be true, it would only be right 
to adopt similar measures against Englishmen in Germany, in 
order to bring home to their Government the heinousness of their 
deeds. Prompt action was demanded by the semi-official Ber- 
liner Lokal-Anzeiger, and the cry was taken up by the press in 
various cities, in Hamburg and Dresden, Leipzig and Munich. 
At length on October 26th the newspapers published an official 
statement that the German Government had addressed an ulti- 
matum to England, that unless the interned Germans were re- 
leased by November 5th all the Englishmen in Germany would 
be arrested and interned. My first impression was that this 
threat would be carried out ; my second, that it was merely 
bluff ; my third, that the British Government would yield and 
everything would end happily. 

I discussed the situation with my English friends on the 
Wilhelm Platz and found that their views were greatly varied. 
A few were rather timid about the prospect, but most of them 
made light of the situation and said that if we were interned we 
should at least be able to keep one another company. A variety 
artist who was in the group said that he had already packed up, 
that when the policeman called he would find him ready, sitting 
on the bed, and that in his best German he would offer the official 
twopence to carry his portmanteau. The inquiries we made at 
the American Embassy, as late as November 4th, elicited rather 
reassuring answers, and even the police stations had not yet 
received news of any proposed action. But my fellow-Englishmen 
were sceptical and resolved to have a good time whilst they were 
yet free ; not one of them thought of escaping, for they regarded 
the chances of success as remote ; and realising that it was best 
not to be taken unawares, 1 made some half-hearted preparations 
on the night of the 5th. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE ACT OF INTERNMENT 

An unpleasant awakening — My anxious landlady — The official order — Pack- 
ing up — Escorted to the police station — Comrades in distress — " Stadtvogtei " 
again — The plaintive warder — " Line up in fours ! " — En route for Ruhleben. 

j4 T seven o'clock on Friday morning, November 6th, 

I \ 1914, just as I thought of turning over on the other side, 
A. jL there was a ring at the front door, and shortly after- 
wards there was a knock at my door. I knew that my hour had 
come. Instead of turning over on the other side I had to turn 
out of bed, and when I opened the door my grey-haired landlady, 
in tremulous tones, told me that a gentleman wished to see me. 
I knew that gentleman : I had been expecting him. 

" Gut' Morgen," said the mild-mannered, round-bellied, 
chubby-faced, blond-moustached gentleman, as he entered my 
room. " I am very sorry, but you probably know why I have 
come." 

" The Englishmen are to be interned ? " I said. 

" Yes," he replied, apparently pleased at my knowledge. 
" I have first to take you to the police station in the neighbour- 
hood. So get yourself ready, but there is no great hurry." 

I offered my visitor a cigar, which he took without any pre- 
tence of wounded dignity, and then I seated him in the hall, 
where my landlady gave him a cup of coffee. I leisurely pro- 
ceeded with my toilet and packing, and then sat down to a frugal 
breakfast, which was brought in by the old lady, who was trem- 
bling in every limb. 

" May you see the papers ? " she asked, as she produced the 
morning's papers from underneath her apron. She thought that 
the restrictions on my liberty had already begun. " Oh, it's 
terrible, terrible ! " she whined. 

23 



24 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

I quickly glanced through the papers and found the official 
announcement respecting the order of internment. The measure 
was declared to be an act of reprisal for England's internment 
of German subjects. All British subjects between the ages of 
seventeen and fifty-five, throughout the German Empire, were 
to be arrested by the local police and transported under either 
police or military escort to the Concentration Camp on the 
Ruhleben Racecourse. Only those persons were to be exempted 
from arrest who could produce a certificate from an official 
doctor that they were too ill to be transported ; but their exemp- 
tion was to cease with the cessation of their illness. The order 
was to be enforced, in the first place, only against natives of the 
United Kingdom ; but should it be found subsequently that 
Germans were also interned in the British colonies, then the 
natives of those colonies would also be interned. All British 
subjects who were still allowed to remain at liberty must report 
to the police twice a day, and must not leave their dwellings 
between eight o'clock at night and seven o'clock in the morning. 

Whilst I was studying these regulations, my visitor became 
rather impatient and came into the room again, so I gave him 
another cigar to curb his zeal, although his first one was scarcely 
burned beyond the middle. Then producing a slip of paper 
from his pocket, on which were written some notes, he advised 
me to provide myself with a blanket, pillow, and bed-sheet, as 
well as with toilet requisites. My landlady made a parcel of the 
bedding, and whimpered all the time : " Es ist schrecklich I ' 
partly, I suppose, out of an exaggerated fear of what was going 
to happen to me, and partly, no doubt, because she was losing 
a good lodger. But the Criminal-Beamte, or police-detective, 
for such my visitor was, tried to console her by saying that I 
might be released again at the police station, or after a few days. 
I entertained no hopes, however, of such early liberation, and 
as I put some books and writing material into my hand-bag I had 
a presentiment that it would be a long time before I should be 
able to call myself a free man again. I cast a final glance around 
my room and have never seen it again. 

There were few people in the street as we made our way to the 
local police station, which was hardly a quarter of a mile away. 
" You have only your own Government to thank for this," 
remarked the detective, " and sensible people will realise it." 



THE ACT OF INTERNMENT 25 

Such was the refrain that I repeatedly heard from the mouths 
of German officials for months later. At a discreet distance 
behind us tripped the servant-girl with the parcel of bedding. 
We excited no attention, and nobody suspected my melancholy 
destination. 

On arriving at the police station I found a dozen Englishmen 
already waiting in an inner room, with their bags, portmanteaux, 
and parcels grouped around them. They sat somewhat stolidly, 
hardly exchanging a word with one another, as though waiting 
to consult a doctor or to interview a large employer of labour. 
I was the last Englishman in the district to arrive, and soon 
afterwards the Police Lieutenant called out our names, and 
proceeded to fill up forms with particulars as to our age, occupa- 
tion, place of birth, and family affiliations. One man declared 
that he was a Boer, and produced a birth-certificate in proof of 
the statement, whereupon he was immediately set free. The 
rest of us were all natives of the United Kingdom, so we had to 
await further developments. The Police Lieutenant, a slim and 
spruce officer of military bearing, with a grey moustache and 
reddish nose, told us that we should first be removed to the 
" Stadtvogtei ' Prison, and suggested that we should ride in 
closed taxi cabs, of which we should bear the joint expense. 
We approved of the suggestion as the best under the circum- 
stances, and before long there drew up four vehicles in front of 
the station, and into each vehicle there stepped three prisoners 
and a burly policeman, with his revolver conspicuously hanging 
from his belt. As the procession of " taxis " started on its journey 
a little crowd gathered round, but there were no comments of 
any kind, and soon we were speeding into the heart of Berlin, 
to the prison from which I had been released two months before. 

We found quite a long line of " taxis " in front of us, as though 
we were all going to some great municipal reception, and when 
at length we were able to alight and to pass within the grim walls 
of the jail, the warders who had previously received tokens of 
my good- will recognized me and greeted me as an old friend. 
We were marched up flights of stairs and along corridors, but 
though, like experienced convicts, we asked for " Gemeinschajts- 
Zellen '" (company cells) we were each put into separate cells, 
and the iron door was locked and bolted upon us. My cell had 
a capacity of only thirteen cubic metres, and as it was too narrow 



26 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

for the bed and the little table, which were secured to opposite 
walls, to rest on the floor simultaneously, the bed was hung up 
against the wall and I sat on a little wooden stool. 1 tried to kill 
time by reading the newspapers and the little book of prison 
regulations, which set forth in punctilious detail the daily wage 
that was paid to convicts for making paper-bags or umbrella- 
sheaths, and also a graduated series of penalties for different 
degrees of misconduct. As it was already past midday and my 
breakfast had been anything but substantial, I put out the flag 
in order to inquire of the responding warder whether I could get 
anything to eat. 

" You ought to have come earlier," was his business-like 
reply, as though I had come into a boarding-house with meal- 
times fixed by the laws of the Medes and Persians. 

" But can't you get me something ? " I asked. 

" Very sorry," returned the warder. " No time. Very busy. 
Diese verdammte Internierung ! One has no rest at all ! ' And 
he looked at me sadly as though beseeching my pity. 

" Tell me at least how long we shall have to wait here," I 
urged. 

" Do you think I am the Governor, or that I shall risk my place, 
by asking such questions ? No, my friend. Geduld ! It can't 
be very long : there are only twenty-four hours in the day." 
Without further ado he banged, locked, and rebolted the door 
again. 

Time dragged on wearily. I kept my ears alert for every 
sound, for any signal or suggestion of our departure. At last, 
soon after one o'clock, I began to hear the distant click made by 
the opening of doors, the shuffling of feet, and the buzz of voices 
broken in on now and again by a strident command in German. 
Gradually the welcome sound of the opening of doors came 
nearer and nearer, the sharp click became louder, until at length 
my own door opened. 

" Heraus mil Gepdck ! " (Out with luggage !) bawled the warder, 
as he strode on to the next cell. 

With hand-bag and umbrella in one hand, and my parcel of 
bedding in the other, I hurried along the corridor, behind a long 
line of fellow-prisoners all carrying their baggage. As we 
descended the iron staircase, which reminded one very much of 
a staircase on a ship, there was a momentary block, and a wag 



THE ACT OF INTERNMENT 27 

called out : " First, to the right ; second, to the left ! " — which 
evoked a peal of laughter among the struggling crowd. All the 
Englishmen in Berlin liable to internment had apparently now 
been gathered into this prison clearing house, and we were to 
be transported in a body to the Ruhleben Camp. 

As soon as we reached the main door opening out into the 
street we found an imposing array of big burly policemen, all 
armed with revolvers at their belts, lined up on either side, and 
right along the street, while a force of mounted police were 
stationed on the outskirts to keep the crowd back. 

" Zu vieren antreten ! " (Line up in fours) was the command 
bawled at us from every side : a command that I had to hear 
with sickening iteration for the next nineteen months. We 
quickly formed up in fours, our hands burdened with luggage ; 
and with scarcely any delay, for the traffic in the main road was 
held up, we set out on our melancholy march. The police on 
either side of us yelled at us to keep in line and in step, which was 
no easy thing to do, with our bags and portmanteaux jostling 
one another sideways, in front, and behind. If any man made 
a sign of resting his baggage on the ground, or wished to change 
hands, the policeman nearest to him yelled : " Englische Schweine- 
hunde ! nicht stehen bleiben ! " Those who had a hand free 
naturally helped their neighbour, but such cases were few. One 
stalwart Englishman carried a cabin-trunk on his shoulder, but 
after struggling along with it for fifty yards he had to rest it on 
the ground for a moment and straightway received a blow in the 
back from the clenched fist of a bullock-headed policeman. The 
man turned round with flashing eyes, but we urged him to keep 
his temper, or worse might happen. He shouldered his trunk 
again and struggled along without a halt. The crowd that was 
lined up on either side was remarkably undemonstrative, but 
among the onlookers were the weeping wives or mothers of some 
of the prisoners who were domiciled in Berlin. 

Our march was continued only as far as the Alexander Platz 
station of the City Railway, which we reached in less than ten 
minutes, and there we boarded the special trains that were 
waiting to bear us on our final journey. We were not allowed 
to pick or choose compartments, but were bundled into them 
with scant ceremony, and a couple of policemen travelled in 
every compartment. We cast many a yearning glance at the 



28 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

streets below us as the train sped on, through the city quarters 
and then past the spacious thoroughfares of Charlottenburg, 
and we felt the fetters tightening about us. In little more than 
half an hour our train drew up outside the Ruhleben Racecourse. 
The station that served as our terminus is known as the Emi- 
grants' Railway Station (Auswanderer Bahnhof), as all the trains 
with Russian, Polish, and Rumanian emigrants, that in peace 
times travelled to Hamburg or Bremen, first discharged their 
freight at this station for the purpose of bathing and disinfection. 
Again we lined up in fours ; again the big-bellied policemen 
swaggered along on our flanks, alternately yelling and swearing. 
We trudged along a country road that was furrowed with the 
ruts of cart-wheels, but fortunately the day was dry, otherwise 
we should have had to wade through a pool of mud. The only 
onlookers were the few sentries stationed outside the Camp, who 
gazed at us curiously from beneath their spiked helmets, and 
doubtless felt a sense of growing importance as they beheld our 
lengthening line. Presently we came to a big wooden gate, 
which swung open, and above it, on the cross-bar, was the 
legend " Trabrennbahn, Ruhleben." It was a trotting course : 
my new home for the next nineteen months. 



CHAPTER V 

RULES, REGIMEN, AND RUMOURS 

Welcome to the Prison Camp — At home in a horse-box — Meeting with old 
friends — My box-mates — " Aufstehen ! " — The morning wash — The march for 
coffee — Regulations — Drafting petitions — Our officers — The Baron — Dinner 
and its fate — A succession of arrivals — Priority of internment by Germany — 
The detained seamen — Makeshift dormitories — Invalid and aged prisoners — 
Selection of captains — Rumours of release. 

WE marched into the compound, which was occupied 
by large red-brick stables, and as I was in the first 
contingent that entered we drew up, still four deep, 
in front of Stable i. The Acting Commandant, with his staff, 
all in grey uniforms and brown leggings, advanced to meet us, 
and a wary exchange of glances took place. The Commandant 
welcomed us in a brief speech in which he said that we had only 
to thank our own Government for our internment, and that 
if we complied with the regulations we should have no reason 
to complain of harshness. Then, leaving our baggage on the 
ground, we were marched in dozens to a table near the entrance- 
gate, where we had to fill in slips with our name, age, occupation, 
religion, last address, and number of years resident in Germany. 
Some of us made merry over the process, which enraged the 
sergeant, who bawled out : " Hold your jaws ! This is no joke ! " 
But the Commandant reproved him : " Not so rough ! They are 
not criminals." 

We returned to our baggage and were kept waiting a long time 
until all in our contingent, about two hundred and fifty, had 
filled in their slips. Then we were counted by two soldiers, one 
of whom went in front and the other behind us. A rumour — the 
first of innumerable rumours that tormented us during our in- 
ternment — quickly went round that we were going to be searched 
and that we would be deprived of our money, and many a man 

29 



30 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

immediately slipped notes and coin into his socks ; but apart 
from a perfunctory glance at some of our opened bags, from 
which nothing was taken, there was neither search nor confisca- 
tion. As further batches of prisoners were arriving the Com- 
mandant began to introduce us to our quarters. He ordered 
those who were respectably dressed, and the older men, to go 
into the " ground floor " of the barracks, four men to each horse- 
box, and when all the boxes were filled the rest had to mount the 
narrow wooden staircases, of which there was one at each end 
and one in the middle, and to select a position in the hay-loft. 
The horse-boxes contained four military beds — two beds super- 
imposed on each other on either side — a small wooden table, and 
four chairs. That was the entire furniture, but it was a luxurious 
arrangement in comparison with that to which I was later con- 
demned. The hay-loft contained nothing but a thick layer of 
straw, upon which the men had to arrange themselves as com- 
fortably as possible. Presently we were all called out again, 
again lined up in fours, and again counted by a couple of soldiers, 
who checked one another before and behind us. Then we were 
each given a military blanket, a towel, and a pewter bowl. These 
formed the entire equipment provided by the authorities, and 
they all showed signs of having been in prolonged use before. 
The towel was of very tough fabric, and the pewter bowl 
— which was to serve me for all my meals and dishes — had 
been dented, scraped, and scratched by many a ravenous 
soldier. 

It was not until half-past four that all the preliminary formali- 
ties were over and we were free to roam about at our own sweet 
will. We were given nothing to eat the whole time, and after 
all the excitement and fatigue of the day I was famishing. Fortu- 
nately I came across some friends who had already been installed 
in the Camp for the past two months, and who gave me some 
bread and cheese. They had been transferred to Ruhleben from 
the " Stadtvogtei " Prison on the very day after my release, 
and had spent a wearisome and wretched time, subjected to the 
caprices of common soldiers who exercised unceasing vigilance 
over them and would not allow them to rest for a moment in 
their boxes during the day. At first they were taken for walks 
into the neighbouring woods, the Grunewald, but as the Com- 
mandant was informed that the militarjr escorts made a halt at 







* = £ 






S 5 



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h 
Z 

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z 

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RULES, REGIMEN AND RUMOURS SI 

I every beer restaurant the excursions were stopped. They knew 
that they would soon be able to welcome a large party of fellow- 
Englishmen, not from the newspapers but from the fact that 
they had been made to carry the heavy iron bedsteads for us 
through the streets from Charlottenburg, a distance of about 
three miles. This was not only a cruel and humiliating task, 
under which many of the weaker men broke down, but it was 
also quite unnecessary, as the beds could have been sent by 
train to the siding opposite to the camp. 

The men who arrived in the course of that first afternoon 
quickly made friends with one another, abandoning all con- 
ventionality, and freely exchanging experiences, sentiments, and 
hopes. As I walked about the compound, passing from one 
group to the other, and listening to a multitude of stories and 
adventures, I confess that I was momentarily tickled by the 
novelty of the situation ; but when I spoke to the men who had 
already been there two months and noticed how dejected they 
were, I recoiled at the thought of having to spend the winter 
in that miserable encampment. At sunset the compound was 
illuminated by electric arc-lights, and the standard opposite 
the offices of the Military Administration was surrounded by a 
gossiping crowd, which vividly reminded me of the crowds of 
debaters and onlookers at Marble Arch. The evening sped 
quickly. At half -past eight we had all to be in our horse-boxes 
or hay-lofts ; at a quarter to nine we had to be in bed ; and at 
nine the lights were turned out. My box-mates were a fellow- 
Mancunian, a Welshman, and the young fellow who had tem- 
porarily shared a cell with me at the Stadtvogtei Prison two 
months before. Before we got into our respective beds we tested 
their stability and security, as those occupying the lower berths 
had no desire to be smothered or bruised by the upper bed 
slipping out of its socket. Although all fatigued, we went on 
talking for quite a considerable time, and if there is anything 
that mitigates the hardship of internment it is certainly the 
comradeship that is quickly established and the ever-present 
opportunity for conversation. We tried to make light of our 
situation. We laughed at the idea of living in a stable, thought 
what fine muscles we would develop in sliding the ponderous 
iron door a hundred times a day, wondered what interesting 
acquaintances we would make, congratulated ourselves upon 



32 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

being free from rent and taxes, and then speculated upon the 
hardships we might yet have to endure. 

At half-past six the following morning one of the German 
soldiers in charge of the barrack, as the stable was officially 
termed, clattered through the stone passage in his hob-nailed top 
boots and called out : " Aufstehen ! " (Get up), and soon there 
was a very busy and animated, but anything but agreeable, 
scene. There were hardly more than a score of tin washing- 
basins provided for two hundred and fifty men and there was 
only one tap from which to get water. The result was a pande- 
monium. Every man who had succeeded in getting a basin full 
of water and placing it on a chair outside his box was immediately 
surrounded by half a dozen others, each ready to clutch the 
precious vessel as soon as the first man had finished spluttering 
and splashing. Soap was at a premium, for none was provided 
by the military authorities, and many men forgot to bring some ] 
with them. 

Our ablutions were scarcely over when the soldiers called out : 
" Antreten zum Kaffee holen ! ' (Line up to fetch coffee), and 
we lined up in fours with our pewter bowls. Then we marched 
through a gateway at which a sentry was posted, past the rear 
of the grandstands of the race-course, to the kitchen, where we 
defiled past huge steaming cauldrons, from which fellow-prisoners, 
with long ladles, baled some dark liquid into our bowls. We 
marched back in that raw November morning, warming our 
hands against the bowl, from which we spilled a good portion on 
the six minutes' journey back to our horse-boxes. The taste 
of the beverage was repulsive : it was innocent of milk and 
sugar, but it was something hot, and we gulped as much of it 
down as we could stomach. We were also given a slab of dark 
brown bread, which had to last for the day. The meal was just 
sufficient to whet our appetite for something more and better, 
and fortunately we were able to buy at a canteen a cup of more 
palatable coffee for ten pfennige and likewise fresh rolls. 

We were lined up several times on the day after our arrival, 
sometimes to receive orders and learn regulations, and always 
to be counted. We were counted so often that we could not help 
likening our captors to a miser who was always fingering and 
checking his golden treasure. We found the process irksome : 
it reminded us of our schooldays, when we were lined up in the 



RULES, REGIMEN AND RUMOURS 33 

playground, and the unpleasantness was aggravated by the 
marked disparity in age and status of the men in our midst. 
We were told that card-playing and the drinking of alcoholic 
liquors were forbidden ; that smoking in the barracks was like- 
wise forbidden ; and that anybody who violated these rules 
would be put into a cell for seventy-two hours with black bread 
and water. We were informed that we could write messages 
home, to England or anywhere else, but they must be written 
with a pencil and only on postcards, otherwise they would not 
leave ; a concession of which we all eagerly availed ourselves. 
We were also told that we must hand over any money in our 
possession above twenty marks, and especially any gold that we 
might have, and that a deposit account would be opened for us 
at the office, from which we could draw at intervals. We were 
also told — and this announcement filled us with joy and hope 
for many hours — that if we thought there was any reason why 
we should be released, we should address a petition to that effect 
to the Commandant of the Camp. Needless to say, we all became 
very busy penning — or rather pencilling — petitions, urging that 
we had never done and never would do any harm to the Kaiser's 
dominions ; but it was a waste of paper and energy, as well as 
a source of disappointment, for we had to wait many months 
before we received a reply, which was invariably the same : 
" Abgelehnt" (Rejected). 

We were faced so often by the staff of officers within the first 
twenty-four hours of our arrival that we very soon knew their 
names, ranks, distinguishing characteristics, and idiosyncrasies. 
The Commandant-in-Chief was Major Count von Schwerin, a 
septuagenarian with white moustache and stooping shoulders, 
who walked with a shaky step and with the help of a stick, and 
seldom made any announcements personally. These were 
generally communicated by the Acting Commandant, First 
Lieutenant Baron von Taube, a man of about fifty, tall, well-set, 
and with a grey moustache of a less imposing character than that 
of his superior. " The Baron," as he was invariably styled, had 
been raised to this lofty position out of the obscurity of an 
insurance agency to which his civilian energies had been devoted, 
and his inexperience in administration showed itself in a peculiar 
vacillation of disposition and an incalculable alternation between 
unrelenting severity and the most amiable leniency. He never 

3 



34 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

seemed complete without a cigar between his lips, and we soon 
began to estimate how many cigars a day he smoked. In attend- 
ance upon the Baron was a non-commissioned officer, Feldwebel 
Mohr, a splay-footed man of forty, who was a policeman in private 
life, and who liked to raise his voice on every possible occasion, 
either to repeat the Baron's commands or to act as their sole 
medium. These three, in their various capacities, were charged 
with the general administration of the camp. Then there were 
the Rittmeister von Miiller, a surly, sallow-visaged officer of 
about sixty, who was a good judge of horse-flesh, and had charge 
both of the sentries and the kitchen supplies ; the " Rechnungs- 
rat," or " Calculating Councillor," Gliesch, a truculent bureaucrat 
who had charge of our personal records, and who determined 
whether a prisoner should be released or receive leave of absence ; 
and the medical officer, Dr. Lachmann, a rather handsome man 
with a kindly manner. At the time of writing, nearly two years 
after the date of my internment, all but two of these officers have 
left the Camp. The doctor died ; the policeman was wanted at 
home to quell women's riots ; the " Calculating Councillor " 
went to the front with " the best wishes " of the Camp ; the 
Rittmeister was wanted to buy up horses ; and the Count and 
the Baron who, according to their lights, had tried to do their 
best, received their conge in the summer of 1916, on the ground 
apparently that they had not been strict enough, but shortly 
afterwards came back again. 

We soon realised that we would not run any risk at Ruhleben 
of putting on flesh. At midday we lined up again, always four 
deep, of course, and armed with our bowls and headed by our 
soldiers we marched again to the kitchen for " dinner." We came 
back again with some vegetable soup (of which we again spilled 
some on the way), which presented something of a problem, as 
we had no spoons. Fortunately one man in our box had brought 
a spoon with him, and we used it in turn for as much of the con- 
coction as we could swallow ; but there was no need of a knife 
and fork, as we had no meat. Hardly anybody, despite a keen 
appetite, could consume all his portion : the remains were 
thrown into a barrel outside the stable, and then we swilled and 
cleaned the bowls beneath the tap, and dried it with the towel 
that we had for our face. The next " meal " came at five o'clock. 
Again we lined up in fours and marched with our bowls to the 



RULES, REGIMEN AND RUMOURS 35 

kitchen, wondering what we should now get to assuage our 
ravenous hunger. We came back with a bowl of weak cocoa, 
with which we involuntarily splashed one another's boots. We 
now knew what our daily fare would be and gnashed our teeth. 
But fortunately we could supplement our larder from the canteen, 
where we could buy rolls, butter, jam, boiled eggs, sausages, 
biscuits, milk, sugar, and fresh fruit. So we grinned and bore it, 
or rather bore it without grinning. 

The first week was full of interest and excitement. For every 
day, and almost every hour, brought fresh batches of English- 
men from different parts of Germany. The great gate would 
swing open, and in would march a company of travel-stained 
prisoners, who always formed a motley crew, old and young, rich 
and poor, smart and ragged, laden with portmanteaux, bags, and 
parcels of all sizes and shapes, and escorted by armed soldiers 
in different uniforms according to the Federal State from which 
they came. The guards always had their guns on their shoulders, 
and sometimes the weapons had fixed bayonets. The prisoners 
drew up in front of Stable I, the nearest to the military offices, 
in order to go through the preliminary formality of registration 
before being assigned to their quarters, and then would take 
place a hurried cross-fire of questions and answers. 

" Where are you from ? " we would ask. 

Back came a dozen different answers : " From Dresden " — 
" From Breslau " — " From Cologne, been in prison till now " — 
" From Chemnitz " — " From Essen, took me for a blooming 
spy " — " I was a jockey at Hoppegarten " — " From Heidelberg, 
studying there " — " From Munich, had a rotten time there " — 
" From the Black Forest, caught on a walking tour : no more 
holiday in Germany for me ! " 

All parts of Germany seemed to be contributing to the new 
English community that was coming into being, and already 
I could gather from a score of independent sources that the 
German plea that our internment was simply an act of reprisal 
was a hypocritical pretence, as hundreds of the men who came 
into Ruhleben had already been prisoners in other camps or in 
gaols since the very first day of the war and had been subjected 
to the vilest treatment. Nay, some of them, coming from the 
Rhineland, told me that they had been arrested and imprisoned 
at the end of July. And they all had a sad tale to tell of their 



3G THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

journey, which varied, according to the distance, from twelve to 
twenty-four hours, for in most cases they were treated roughly 
by the soldiers and were not allowed to buy any refreshment in 
the stations at which they stopped, or even to get a glass of 
water. The men from Munich had a particularly distressing 
experience, and had to listen to an insulting and revolting speech 
from the officer in charge of the escort. The prosperous colony 
of Englishmen from Hamburg had spent two days and nights 
on the hulks in the harbour, where they were jammed and 
crammed into a space too small even for a third of their number, 
and where they were nearly choked by the repulsive fare and 
asphyxiated by the terrible stinks. From Hamburg and Bremen 
came some twelve hundred merchant seamen, the captains and 
crews of about sixty ships, many of which were detained in the 
port from the 29th July, and some of which, after being allowed 
to set sail, were brought back without excuse a couple of hours' 
later. We cheered these men as they sturdily marched into the 
Camp— the only prisoners without luggage, for their belongings 
were not sent on until many weeks later ; and we felt a sort of 
thrill as we gazed at the gold-laced coats of the captains and 
read the familiar English names and initials of different shipping 
and railway companies on the expansive jerseys of many a 
weather-beaten sailor ; and we were moved to pity at the sight 
of so many boys, mere children of fourteen and fifteen, who, 
despite their pale thin cheeks, bore themselves so bravely in 
captivity. Many months afterwards the Geiman Government 
instituted an enquiry into the treatment in other camps of the 
prisoneis brought to Ruhleben, and into the incidents on their 
journeys, but the Commissioner who came to our Camp found 
the men almost unanimously reticent, for the latter had no 
guarantee that their statements would be faithfully recorded or 
that they would be immune from reprisals. 

The boasted machinery of the Royal Prussian War Office 
broke down under the strain of these successive arrivals, and 
the Camp authorities lost their heads and their tempers in their 
efforts to cope with the situation. The local police dispatched 
their prisoners as regularly as clockwork, but the preparations 
for the reception of such a large number within so short a space 
of time were utterly inadequate. Many groups of prisoners- 
some only in their light summer clothes— were kept standing 



RULES, REGIMEN AND RUMOURS 37 

about for hours before they were assigned to horse-boxes or hay- 
lofts ; many of them were drenched in the rain and were unable 
to seek any shelter. Owing to the shortage of beds and of bedding 
material of any kind, a few hundred had to sleep several nights 
in the stone-floored hall beneath the middle grand stand, where 
they had to make themselves as cosy as possible on a layer of 
straw and protect themselves against the cold and draughcs by 
sleeping in their overcoats with upturned collars. Another 
batch — mainly the Hamburg contingent — had to bed their 
straw in an elevated building known as the Tea House, which 
at least had the advantage of a wooden floor, though its big 
expanse of frosted window-panes chilled the sleepers to the 
marrow. And others, chiefly from Frankfort-on-the-Maine, 
Munich, and other towns of South Germany, who had spent 
a night in the military camp at Giessen en route, were tem- 
porarily housed in the large waiting-room at the Emigrants' 
Railway Station, where they were bedded on straw and had to 
share a blanket between every two men. Moreover, among these 
various contingents were many men who had been taking a 
" cure " at the health resorts of Bad' Nauheim, Homburg, Kis- 
singen, and other places, for diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, 
etc., and who were now doomed to complete their " cure " in 
draughty horse-boxes or suffocating hay-lofts. What struck 
us as most remarkable was that there were also several men who 
were quite lame, with a club-foot or deformed leg, and who 
could not, even by the wildest stretch of imagination, have been 
regarded as possible recruits for the British Army. The strangest 
case of all was that of a frail old gentleman of eighty, who had 
been dragged from his sick-bed by the over-zealous police in 
defiance of the Government order which exempted men above the 
age of fifty-five. The Commandant was so moved by the sight 
of this tottering and venerable prisoner, that he escorted him to 
the Casino (the restaurant in which the officers, and afterwards 
the privileged prisoners, dined) to rest, and procured his release 
within a few hours. 

From the very moment of our arrival the authorities realised 
the need of securing the co-operation of some of the prisoners 
for the efficient administration of the Camp affairs, and for the 
interpretation of their announcements ; and the Acting Com- 
mandant, Baron von Taube, therefore proposed to the inmates 



38 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

of each " barrack " that they should elect a Captain from their 
number who should act as intermediary between them and the 
military authorities. The proposal was excellent, but its proper 
realization at that time was impracticable, as we were all more 
or less strangers to one another and ignorant of each other's 
capacity for the office. Hence the men who became captains 
were not elected by their fellow-prisoners, but were imposed 
upon them by the Baron, who was satisfied with their mastery 
of German and their capacity of correctly interpreting his orders. 
These first captains were all, with the exception of the captain 
from the seamen, men who had been domiciled in Germany for 
some years, and who were presumptuous enough to recommend 
themselves. When the Baron announced their appointment in 
front of each barrack no one was bold enough to challenge the 
decision, and thereupon we were told that in future any question 
or request that we might wish to put to the military authorities 
must be communicated through our respective captains, whom 
we had to accept for better or for worse. Any prisoner who 
addressed a military officer in future would be punished. The 
captains were not slow to realise the power they had suddenly 
acquired, and many of them assumed towards their fellow- 
prisoners an attitude of insufferable arrogance and dictatorial 
authority. As they could not cope with all the work themselves, 
they appointed from among their friends or box-mates a vice- 
captain, and likewise a postman who should collect the outgoing 
and deliver the incoming correspondence, and a cashier, who 
should relieve us of any superfluous money, especially gold. 

We had scarcely been in the Camp twenty-four hours before 
all sorts of rumours got afloat about our impending release, and 
bets were freely made that we would be out again within a 
month, or at the latest by Christmas. Had we then known that 
most of the men would be doomed to spend two full years and 
more within the barbed wire fence, I tremble at the thought of 
the abysmal, raving despair that would have seized upon us. 
It was hard for all — for those who were living in the country and 
had been torn away from their wives and children and occupa- 
tions, as well as for those who had come to Germany for a holi- 
day or a " cure " and found retreat suddenly cut off. But with 
all our sympathy for one another in our common distress we could 
not suppress a smile when we heard that there were Englishmen 



RULES, REGIMEN AND RUMOURS 39 

who had actually come into Germany on August ist — " just in 
time for the show," as we put it. Our hopes of an early release, 
for at least some of our number, were fed by the Camp authorities 
themselves, not only in advising us to send in personal petitions 
but also in making various utterances which we thought were 
inspired by official knowledge. I asked the Baron myself, two 
days after our arrival, what the chances were, and his reply was : 
" Es ist eine iibereilte Sache. In einigen Tagen kommen sehr viele 
wieder heraus " (The thing has been done in a hurry. In a few 
days very many will be out again). I reported this remark to 
some friends, and within half an hour it was known to the whole 
Camp, and hope ran high. Then we received a visit from Lieu- 
tenant Tritschler von Falkenstein, the representative of the 
Berlin Kommandantur in charge of civilian prisoners of war, 
and he said to some men : " Get up a petition to your own 
Government, and I'll send it for you." The idea was not adopted 
because we did not wish to play into the hands of our captors, 
and besides we could not believe that our internment was any- 
thing but a temporary measure. Within the first week the 
musician, Frederic Lamond, who is a Scotsman, was released by 
the intervention of the German Crown Prince. If he so soon 
why not others later, even if they had no friend at Court ? 



CHAPTER VI 

THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 

The Kosher question — Transported to the Emigrants' Railway Station — 
A straw-strewn waiting-room — Chaos and babel — The backyard pump — A 
Sabbath concert — A ghastly night — Back in Camp — " Barrack VI " — Furnishing 
our apartments — Sleeping six side by side — Fetching the beds — Forbidden 
candles — Fashionable residences — A " Black Hole of Calcutta." 

ON the seventh day of our internment (on Thursday 
morning, November 12th, 1914, to be exact) we were 
summoned by the alarm-bell, which was vigorously 
struck by one of the guards, to line up in front of our barracks, 
and we awaited impatiently the new order that was to be pro- 
mulgated. The Baron, attended by his adjutant, the Sergeant, 
called upon all those who were Israeliten to step out of the ranks 
and form up on the other side. Many stepped out whom I had 
not suspected of being Jews ; others, whose features proclaimed 
their race, were moral cowards and skulked behind. The Baron 
then asked those of us who would like to eat Kosher to step on 
one side, and our names were taken ; the others were dismissed. 
The same process was carried out in all the other barracks. We 
were told that the object was to ascertain the number of Jews 
who were to be provided with Kosher dinners which the managers 
of a Jewish Soup Kitchen in Berlin, actuated by religious con- 
siderations, were willing to send in every day with the assent 
of the military authorities. It was found that the total number 
did not exceed about seventy, though the number of Jews in the 
Camp was estimated to be between three and four hundred. There- 
upon we were ordered to pack up all our belongings, bedding 
and all, and to get ready to move to new quarters in the Emi- 
grants' Railway Station. We formed up, four deep, and heavily 
laden, near the gate, and as we passed out under military escort 
we were greeted by jeers from many of our fellow-prisoners who 
looked on amused. " Judcn heraus ! " was the cry of the German - 

40 



THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 41 

speaking Englishmen, who formed a considerable crowd. " Good 
shutness ! " was the comment of some un-English Englishmen. 

When we saw our new quarters many of us broke down. Our 
guards took us to the large grimy waiting-room, in which so 
many thousands of Russian and Rumanian emigrants have 
rested their weary limbs before sailing for America. Within all 
was chaos. The floor was thickly covered with straw right round 
the room to a width of seven feet from the walls, and everybody 
began struggling to get comfortable positions away from the 
banging doors, and to heap up a good mound of straw for a soft 
bed. The room was already tenanted by a large number of 
Jews, partly Russian and partly English, who were picnicking 
in the straw, and we had scarcely arrived on the scene when we 
were joined by a further large batch of co-religionists — men who 
had expressed no preference for ritual fare, but who were never- 
theless evicted from the Camp, in order that, as the Baron put 
it, " You might be all together." Several of those in this final 
contingent had hung back when the Jews were called upon for 
the second time to step out, but they were spotted by the soldiers, 
or they yielded to the Baron's threat that they would be punished 
if they did not own up. Despite the threat, however, about a 
hundred Jews, some of whom told their fellow-prisoners that 
they had no religion or that they were baptized, contrived to re- 
main behind. Probably the Acting Commandant knew that he 
had already sent to the Railway Station three times as many 
people as the waiting-room would hold. We numbered altogether 
about two hundred and fifty, and many men hesitated to enter 
for fear of being stifled or trampled upon. 

The open-air space that we had in which to move about was 
a narrow, cobble-paved yard, which was no longer than the 
waiting-room itself, and in which it was impossible to walk with- 
out being jostled. There was a smaller room near by, which 
was already crowded with a number of non-Jews, among whom 
was Captain Heaton Armstrong, the late private secretary of 
the late Prince of Albania, the Prince of Wied. The only advan- 
tage of our new quarters was that there was a buffet in the 
waiting-room, where we could buy tea, coffee, and various light 
refreshments ; but those who had no money — and they formed 
a big contingent — were taken back at five o'clock by the soldiers 
into the Camp to get their bowls filled with cocoa, which was 



42 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

half cold by the time they returned. As the evening advanced 
the confusion increased, for although all the floor space round the 
walls was occupied to the full — no man being allowed more room 
than he needed for his own body, and hardly enough for that — 
there were still over sixty for whom accommodation had to be 
found. Upon the initiative of a big man with a big voice, whom 
we afterwards knew as Dr. Katz, the tables were removed into 
the yard, and the inner part of the room was then covered with 
heaps of straw taken from those who had already bedded them- 
selves against the walls ; and upon the inner area the rest had 
to make their couches as well as they could, head against head. 
In the midst of these preparations all the dim gas-jets but one 
went out, and in the ensuing darkness it seemed that pande- 
monium would break out. It was impossible to light a match 
or a candle, as a spark upon the straw might have set the whole 
building ablaze ; but fortunately several of us had electric 
torches, with the aid of whose rays we completed the " bedding ' 
arrangements. The air in the room was so thick that it could 
have been cut with a knife. The stench was overpowering, 
partly owing to sweat, partly to the smoke of bad cigars, and 
partly to the steam from some under-garments which some 
Russian Jews had washed and were drying on the stove. At 
length the gas-jets burned again, weirdly lighting up the strangest 
scene upon which my eyes had ever set. 

The " beds " were packed as close to one another as sardines 
in a box ; there was no line of division except that marked by 
differently coloured blankets and the bags or portmanteaux at 
the foot. The gangway along the length of the room was so 
narrow that it was impossible to move a yard without treading 
upon somebody's coverlet, or upsetting somebody's supper, or 
pushing somebody's arm while writing, and the ensuing recrimina- 
tions were voluble and violent. There was an incessant babble 
in four languages — English, German, Russian, and Yiddish ; 
and there was a ready exchange of personal experiences and 
mutual introductions. Among my fellow-sufferers I came across 
a Yiddish actor, Max Gusofsky, whom I had last seen eight 
years before as a hero in opera in a Whitechapel theatre, and who 
had been stranded in Germany on his way home from Rumania. 
The buffet did a brisk trade in coffee, rolls, and little hot sausages, 
and the clamour continued until half-past eight, when we retired. 



THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 43 

To retire was easy ; to sleep was a more difficult problem. 
For when the lights were low and we were all jammed so close 
to one another that it was impossible to move an arm or a leg 
without disturbing one's neighbour and rousing his ire, a remark- 
able fit of talkativeness seized upon one half of the company, 
to the annoyance and distraction of the other half. Anecdotes 
and jokes of a dubious order were related ; compliments, ex- 
pletives, and oaths were exchanged in various languages ; impre- 
cations were hurled at the head of the Kaiser ; and challenges 
to combat were recklessly given but fortunately not accepted. 
The men who lay beneath the windows had them closed ; those 
at a distance demanded that they should be opened ; and 
between them raged a battle royal in words until they exhausted 
all invectives. Then, after a lull, a ghostly figure would emerge 
from some blanket and try to approach one of the windows, 
but a kick from some near-lying foot sent him back to his couch 
repentant. I had the good fortune to have a position in one of 
the corners of the room, where I was free from any bodily dis- 
turbance except in the region of the feet, which seemed to attract 
the great toes of my neighbours ; but even after I succeeded in 
avoiding these pedal collisions, I lay awake a couple of hours, 
listening to the discordant snoring and snorting in various keys 
of my fellow-sleepers, which varied in volume and vehemence 
every few minutes, until I too — I presume — added my humble 
contribution to the cacophonous concert. 

The washing arrangements in the morning were more primi- 
tive than in the Camp. The taps in the dilapidated wash-house 
were out of order, so we drew water from a pump into tin cans 
that leaked, and poured as much as we could into the dirty 
basins in which we had to wash. As for the closets, a description 
of them would be as repulsive as they were themselves. I looked 
forward with repugnance to spending the day between the evil- 
smelling waiting-room and the squalid backyard ; but fortunately 
I was selected to act as postman and was thus able to visit the 
Camp twice a day, in order to bring back the mail. The task 
was not altogether pleasant, as I had to stand a couple of hours 
each time on the stone floor of a cold room and answer to the 
name of every man whom I considered to be an inmate at the 
Railway Station ; but I was rewarded by the pleasure that lit 
up the men's faces when I afterwards distributed the mail. The 



44 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

cause of our temporary eviction from the Camp, the Kosher 
dinner, arrived in pails in a motor-car at midday ; but instead 
of all being supplied with it, only those received it who had 
originally had their names put down. The rest had to march 
to the Camp kitchen for the ordinary dinner, and they wondered 
why they had been removed at all from the horse-boxes or hay- 
lofts in which they were settled. The dinner consisted of boiled 
carrots and potatoes, with a piece of meat, and was certainly 
more nourishing and appetising than the Camp fare ; and I had 
meanwhile got rid of my pewter bowl and bought one of earthen- 
ware, which was stamped on the bottom with the letters " K G.," 
standing for Kriegsgefangener (prisoner of war). 

Sabbath eve was honoured by a band of pietists with the 
customary religious service, and the familiar melodies were sung 
in unfamiliar surroundings. There was no Sabbath supper, 
however, to follow ; though after we had consumed our frugal 
meal an impromptu concert was arranged, to which a couple 
of Yiddish comedians, brothers who had been imprisoned in 
Vienna as Russian spies, contributed songs both grave and gay, 
and a facile violinist, who had belonged to the orchestra of a 
Berlin cafe, made us all sentimental with the strains of " Kol 
Nidre." As I leant back on my straw bed against the mildewy 
wall, and watched the tense faces of the men listening to the 
Oriental chords, I marvelled at the ease with which they had 
adapted themselves to adversity ; but the solemnity of the 
performance was broken by the wild shrieks of the military trains 
outside which careered along in the night, with troops for the 
Western front. 

Nothing eventful happened until the following night. It was 
an event that made the night hideous and left a sickening, 
grisly impression upon the minds of us all. The early part 
of the night, after the lights were out, passed as on the two 
preceding nights, with squabbles about the closed windows, 
mutual vituperations, and mutual exhortations to silence, 
followed by a gradual lull that was the prelude to a crescendo 
of snoring. And then, after I had dozed off again myself, I 
became dimly conscious of a feeling of unrest throughout the 
ghostly chamber. Every few minutes I heard the door opened 
and closed with a bang, and then, slightly raising my head, I 
saw one after another of the prostrate figures rise suddenly 



THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 45 

from their blankets, slip on coat and boots, and make a dash for 
the yard. Occasionally I heard groans from different parts of 
the room, which evoked protests from some, and sympathetic 
enquiries from others ; and every time the door banged, those 
who lay nearest swore aloud that they would catch their death 
of the draught. Then somebody rushed in from the yard, 
roughly shook a sleeper, and called out : " Quick, quick, your 
brother is ill outside ! " More forms arose in different places, 
and rushed out in twos and threes, tumbling over the prostrate 
figures of their fellow-prisoners, and jostling in the dark against 
those who returned. " Open the window ! " was the cry from 
many throats. " No, the smell will come in from the yard ! " 
was the counter-cry of others. " Stop that row ! " was the call 
of others again. " Send for the Doctor, I'm ill ! " moaned some- 
body pitifully. A bald-headed man in a nightshirt lit the gas 
with the remark : " Now we can see what's happening," but he 
had scarcely uttered the words than he darted to the door, and 
two or three men laughed. But the scoffers were soon punished, 
for they too had to beat a hasty retreat. And then, after strug- 
gling inwardly with myself for a few moments and trying to re- 
assure myself that all was well, I had likewise to seek refuge 
in the night, and I realised what was the matter. It was an 
epidemic of diarrhoea ! Throughout the night the ghastly pro- 
cession went on, at first with sickening briskness, but afterwards 
with intervals. Many a man had no sooner returned and crawled 
snugly beneath his blanket, than he had to rise again and rush 
out with a smothered curse, and many did not venture to return 
for hours. Throughout the night, the creaking door banged, 
banishing sleep from all except those who were so exhausted 
that they snored profoundly ; and before we saw the first faint 
streaks of dawn we were out in the reeking yard to freshen 
ourselves beneath the pump. 

Presently our guards, who had slept undisturbed in the neigh- 
bouring office, arrived upon the scene, and when the head-guard, 
a beefy, blustering fellow, heard of our nocturnal sufferings, he 
raged at us for making a disorder, and declared that next day we 
would be back again at the Camp, and then he would see that 
" order reigned." He suddenly became dumb when the military 
doctor appeared and sympathetically enquired into the nature 
and extent of the epidemic. The doctor surmised that the 



46 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

trouble had been caused by the food having been originally 
cooked on Friday (in accordance with the prohibition of Sabbath 
labour) and allowed to remain in the coppers until Saturday, 
when it was heated up again ; and he advised those who had 
been sick to abstain from coffee that morning and to come to 
him later for some tablets. But there were many men unable 
to leave their beds of straw until midday. 

It was with great relief that we heard that on the following 
morning we would return to the Camp, and be housed in a 
special stable, which was meanwhile being swept, scrubbed, 
swilled, and purged of all traces of its former occupants by some 
of our fellow-prisoners. Dr. Katz, who had taken the initiative 
on the first night in creating a semblance of order out of chaos, 
became our Captain, not as the result of any formal election, 
but simply because of his selection by our head-guard and our 
own tacit acquiescence. His main qualification was his stature, 
for he was a broad-shouldered, big-breasted man of six feet ; 
but the guard who appointed him afterwards rued the day, as 
there gradually developed between them a conflict of authority 
in which the prisoner actually triumphed. Sunday afternoon 
was devoted to the filling up again of slips with personal particu- 
lars ; and at length on Monday morning, at seven o'clock, we 
were lined up in fours on the railway platform in order to be 
conducted back to the Camp. 

First of all we were counted and recounted by our guards, 
until we began to look upon ourselves as mere material for their 
arithmetical exercises ; and then, after we had gathered together 
all our belongings, we set out upon the march once more to the 
Camp, where our arrival was greeted with cries from our fellow- 
prisoners of " Here they are again ! " We were conducted to 
Stable VI, henceforth known as Barrack VI, which was the 
oldest and dirtiest stable in the compound. Despite the cleansing 
operations of the last few days there was plenty of dirt and dust 
on the wooden walls and the concrete floor ; there were cobwebs 
in the corners ; and there was a pervading smell of horses and 
dung throughout the place. Six men were assigned to each 
horse-box, which was about ten feet square, and we were allowed 
to form our own party ; and after all the twenty-three boxes 
were filled, and likewise the Captain's room which had the 
advantage of a wooden floor, a stove, and electric light, the rest 




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THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 47 

)f the Jewish contingent were relegated to the hay-loft, though 
several of them contrived to get into Barrack VII. We deposited 
)ur baggage in our boxes, which were utterly destitute of any 
and of furniture, except the manger, and we were then marched 
Dack to the railway station to fetch straw for our beds. My 
' box-mates " comprised a couple of middle-aged business men, 
i couple of young schoolmasters (who had been holiday-making 
dong the Rhine), and a young scientist engaged in a British 
aovernment laboratory ; and it is needless to say that none of 
is had ever had any experience in the gathering together of a 
)ig bundle of hay and carrying it for a distance of a quarter of 
i mile. I tied up my bundle in my bed-sheet and slung it over 
ny shoulder, and as I trudged with bowed head back to the 
stable, I vividly recalled the bondage of my ancestors in Egypt. 
Between the six of us we managed to garner enough straw to 
:over the entire floor, except for a space about three feet wide, 
which we left for our luggage and to sit in, and we placed a long 
x>ard, a foot high, across the floor to prevent the straw from 
)verflowing into our " sitting-room." We were given a chair 
>ach, mostly dirty and dilapidated, but no table ; and we then 
Droceeded to knock nails into the walls to hang up some of our 
Delongings. It was not until some days later that each horse- 
box was provided with a wooden shelf, about four feet long, to 
;vhich were affixed six hooks ; that was the entire accommoda- 
:ion that was given for our crockery and cutlery, for the larder 
:hat we afterwards began to accumulate, and for our clothing. 
But what we lacked we supplied ourselves in time, and at our 
Dwn cost : longer and broader shelves, brackets of various sizes, 
md cupboards made out of the wooden boxes in which our 
parcels from England arrived. 

For ten days we slept side by side on the straw, over which 
we spread our military blankets, and we covered ourselves with 
Dur private blankets and overcoats. The heating of the barrack 
iid not begin until a fortnight later, for the steam pipes had not 
pet been fixed up, and in the meantime we froze by day and 
shivered by night. Fortunately, none of us was of more than 
medium girth, or we should have had a tight squeeze ; as it was, 
we involuntarily and inevitably elbowed one another throughout 
the night. Where formerly one horse kicked his hoofs against 
the wall, making dents that were still plainly visible, now lay 



48 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

six men : a relation of value that threw a peculiar light upon 
Prussian " Kultur." At the end of ten days we were given long 
sacks, into which we stuffed our straw, and also a small sack to 
serve as a pillow, and thus we had our own particular palliasse. 
The shower of straw-dust that filled the stable by the time we 
had finished making our mattresses and bolsters was almost 
suffocating ; it entered our eyes, our nostrils, our mouths ; and 
we spluttered more and more until we nearly choked. During 
the day we heaped up these sacks, three against one wall and 
three aganist another, with the bolsters at one end, and by 
covering them over with our blankets we converted them into 
comfortable couches, on which we could take an afternoon siesta 
in turn. 

It was not until six weeks later that we received bedsteads. 
These were not considerately brought to us, but we had to go 
and fetch them from the railway siding. In size and make they 
were the ordinary military bedsteads, with an iron framework, 
into which had to be fixed three planks to lie on and a headil 
board and footboard. Had they been new, they would have 
been welcome ; but they were old, dirty, ramshackle, with bent 
legs, missing screws and grimy worm-eaten boards. It was m 
cold, dreary, drizzling afternoon when we dragged them in, and 
our head-guard raged and bellowed as he escorted us, as though j 
he were driving oxen. He would have liked us to march into the 
Camp with our burdens, lined up in fours and keeping time ; 
but that was a spectacle that we could not possibly provide, even | 
if our lives had depended on it. We had a difficulty in finding 
upper beds whose legs fitted into the sockets of the lower beds ; I 
we had a difficulty in finding planks and boards that fitted each 
bed ; we had a difficulty in getting enough " lysol " to clean and 
disinfect the wood and metal ; and we had the final difficulty 
of carrying the beds into the horse-boxes, and setting them up 
in three sets of two tiers each against the walls. Whilst we were 
struggling and sweating over our task our head-guard went from 
box to box, fuming, yelling, and swearing until I thought he | 
would have a seizure, and raining upon us such choice epithets 
as " Verdammter Judenpack ! " and " Saujuden ! " If he found 
a head-board at the foot of the bed, or the reverse, or thought 
that a leg might be broken by too violent tugging, he wo aid fly 
into a choleric fit, and we unanimously wished him a speedy 



THE SEGREGATION OF THE JEWS 49 

transit to another region, where the heat would spare him the 
trouble of working himself up into a rage. 

After the beds were fixed up there was very little floor-space 
or elbow-room left. The floor was occupied by a board about 
six feet by five, which was provided by the military authorities ; 
in the middle of it we placed a small folding-table which we had 
ordered from a shop in Berlin ; and around this we ranged our 
six chairs. The result was that there was just enough room 
to sit down, but not enough to move about ; and only those seated 
near the door could leave the box without disturbing their com- 
panions or nearly upsetting the table. We also left a brief space 
so as to get to the manger, into which we first deposited some 
hand-bags, and afterwards the tins of foodstuffs that came 
from England. At length we were properly installed : we each 
had a bed with a straw sack, a chair, and a sixth of a table, and 
we tried to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. 

The only light that we had in the evening was supplied by 
three small electric lamps fixed in the ceiling of the passage ; 
these were utterly inadequate to light up the interior of our 
boxes, and we were forbidden to burn candles. Hence, during 
the first few weeks we were compelled to eat our supper in the 
passage, and our table, before we received a proper one from 
Berlin, consisted of a couple of portmanteaux placed on the long 
wooden bench, which, in the morning, served as a washstand. 
But afterwards we grew bolder : we burned candles in our 
boxes and blocked up the peep-hole of the door, through which 
the stable-keeper used to watch the horses, to prevent our 
neighbours or the guards from prying in. This precaution, 
however, only enraged our guards, who burst in the covering 
of our peep-hole if it were made of cardboard, but only hurt 
their fingers if it were made of wood. And as in the horse-box 
I occupied we had a candle-lamp with a glass shade which ex- 
cluded the possibility of fire breaking out, our guard was indignant 
that we should enjoy such a luxury. On the door of each box 
was affixed a card bearing the names of its occupants, which were 
written or drawn in various decorative styles, and occasionally 
accompanied by some fanciful title by which the box itself was 
designated. Thus, we had side by side the " Tent of Jacob " and 
" Hotel Bristol," " Hotel Dalles " and " Hotel Adlon," " Pension 
Nebbick " and " Palais de Rothschild." My own box, as befitted 

4 



50 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

the residence of Zionists, bore the name of the Jewish national 
anthem, " Hatikvah " (The Song of Hope). 

Our friends in the hay-loft (the sloping roof of which, at 
the two opposite walls, was only four and a half feet from 
the floor) had no beds, with one or two exceptions, and 
had to sleep on their straw-sacks. At first they had ample 
room, but shortly afterwards a fresh batch of prisoners arrived 
from the " Stadtvogtei " Jail and were all relegated to the 
same loft, although they were non-Jews ; and shortly before 
Christmas a further batch came from Belgium and were likewise 
consigned to the self-same loft. In fact, whenever afterwards 
fresh groups of prisoners arrived the officials at once ordered 
them to the loft of Barrack VI, as though it had an inexhaustible 
capacity ; and when the Russian Jews were removed from our 
midst to the Russian Camp at Holzminden their plac s were 
immediately filled by new arrivals or transfers from other bar- 
racks. The result was that the loft of Barrack VI was so crammed 
and crowded with prisoners, all sleeping on straw-sacks packed 
close to one another, that the place, with fts low-lying roof, its 
little windows, its stifling atmosphere, its dismal light and its 
fetid smells, gave the impression of a veritable " Black Hole of 
Calcutta." But it was not until March, 19-15, that the American 
Ambassador set eyes on this scandalous spectacle, from which he 
recoiled with a shudder, and denounced the loft as unfit for 
habitation ; and not until three months later that its inmates 
were transferred to other barracks. Thus our segregation, 
which caused us so much needless additional suffering, and 
which even at the outset was not complete, had perforce to yield 
to a form of dispersion. 



CHAPTER VII 

ADMINISTRATION, DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT 

Dual government — Guards and sentries — Barracks and captains — The Dele- 
gates' Committee — The American Ambassador — Civilian police force — Punish- 
ment in cells — " Seventy-two hours " — Savage soldiers — Cases of brutality — 
Offences punishable by " Stadtvogtei " — The " bird-cage." 

OUR Camp had a dual government, half military and half 
civilian. The main function of the military govern- 
ment, comprising Commandant, a staff of officers, and 
a company of soldiers, was to prevent us from escaping ; the 
main function of the civilian government, that is of our barrack 
captains, was to look after our welfare. Fortunately there 
were flaws in the discharge of the former function ; unfortu- 
nately there were flaws in the discharge of the latter too. The 
military authorities were responsible to a body in Berlin known 
as the Kommandantur , which was in turn answerable to the 
Prussian War Office ; and at fairly frequent intervals a military 
motor-car, with the Government Arms, would roll into the 
compound, and out would step officers in distinguished-looking 
uniforms, before whom the Commandant would bow deferentially 
and his subordinates would click their heels with clock-work pre- 
cision. Although the Count von Schwerin was the nominal 
Commandant, and for a certain period lived in the Camp, he 
was comparatively rarely seen in our midst. The main control 
devolved upon the Baron von Taube, who had come to Ruhleben 
to spend his honeymoon with his second wife, accompanied by 
a frisky little black Pomeranian. The Baron often walked about 
in the Camp with his wife, but never without his cigar, and he 
was generally accessible to those who wished to address him. 

Each barrack was in the charge of two or three soldiers, one 
of whom acted as head-guard, and who were distinguished by 
a black-white-red band on their arm, bearing the number of their 



52 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

barrack. But in the middle of September, 1915, all the soldiers 
were removed from the barracks, to our unconcealed satisfac- 
tion, and some of them were added to the guard, others were 
sent to the front, and the rest were returned to their former 
civilian occupations, especially if they were policemen. The 
guard, who originally numbered only about three dozen and 
were gradually increased to about two hundred, patrolled in 
shifts round the walls and fences of the Camp, and did two 
hours' duty each time, followed by four hours' rest. Their 
duties were rather monotonous, as attempts to escape were not 
encouraged by the ten-foot brick wall surmounted by barbed 
wire fence on two sides of the Camp, and a wire fence of equal 
height on the other two sides. Like all the other soldiers in the 
Camp, the sentries were drawn from the reserves, and they were 
either unfit to be sent out to the front or they had been sent back 
from it. Early in the summer of 1915 many invalided soldiers 
arrived from the Military Hospitals for the purpose of recuperat- 
ing, and they, as well as their comrades, went through regular 
drills and marches to make them fit again for active service. 
They were all examined at various intervals from the spring of 
1915 by the military doctor, and those who were found eligible 
were promptly sent off. It was both interesting and amusing to 
watch the expression on the face of each soldier as he came out 
of the doctor's room and rejoined his comrades — a broad grin be- 
tokened rejection, a long face meant selection for cannon-fodder. 
We lived at first in eleven stables and the " Tea House," but 
as these were all overcrowded and fresh batches of prisoners 
constantly arrived additional wooden barracks were built in 
different parts of the Camp, bringing up the total in the end to 
twenty-three, which at one time contained 4500 inmates in 
all. The first fifteen barracks all had their own captains, but 
most of the others were regarded as dependances of the bar- 
racks that supplied them with the majority of their occupants 
and had only a sub-captain. The captains, for the most part, 
were unpopular from the very start, owing partly to their not 
having been elected, and partly to their instinctive imitation of 
the autocratic Prussian style. They were responsible only to 
the Commandant, and their fellow-prisoners knew that they 
could always enforce the " little brief authority " in which they 
were dressed. Some of the captains were undoubtedly men of 



ADMINISTRATION, DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT 53 

character, especially one who was sent to the " Stadtvogtei " 
Prison for five weeks, for taking a bold stand on the question of 
the military control of the Camp's communal funds, and another 
who had twenty-four hours' confinement in the cells for a spirited 
reply to the Baron arising out of a matter in which a soldier was 
at fault : and both of whom lost their office through their punish- 
ment. On the other hand, there was one captain whose conduct 
made him so unpopular that the Baron permitted the proper 
election of a successor ; though in another case a new captain, 
popularly elected by his barrack, was deposed by the Comman- 
dant because he would not recognize the right of the Captain 
of the Camp, " the Captain of Captains," to represent the Camp 
to outside authorities. 

The captains were distinguished by a white arm-band, bearing 
their title and the number of their barrack. Their duties con- 
sisted in keeping an up-to-date record of the prisoners and 
military property (beds, blankets, straw-sacks, bowls, etc.) in 
their respective barracks, communicating military orders, main- 
taining discipline, administering relief, looking after the internal 
affairs of the Camp in general, and acting as intermediaries with 
the Commandant in all matters affecting the welfare of their 
fellow-prisoners. They had a properly equipped office, over the 
entrance to which was emblazoned in yellow paint the title 
" Captains' Office," wherein they held their conferences and 
kept their books ; but at no time did they enjoy either the 
respect or the confidence of the bulk of their fellow-prisoners, 
owing mainly to the inscrutable secrecy they preserved con- 
cerning their deliberations and their strange reluctance for a 
long time to publish a balance-sheet of the moneys that passed 
through their hands. The general dissatisfaction first came to 
a head in the middle of January, 1915, on the occasion of the 
release of Mr. E. M. Trinks," the first captain of the Camp, or 
Ober-Obmann des Lagers, as he was styled in German. Prior 
to his departure, Mr. Trinks announced that he would draw up 
a report on the conditions of the Camp, and forward it to the 
British Government, but as it was feared that he would limn 
it in too favourable colours, three thousand signatures were 
immediately collected demanding that he should first submit 
the report to elected representatives of the Camp, or else it 
would be repudiated. Mr. Trinks's reply to the ultimatum was 



54 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

that he was only going to furnish the Government with some 
figures relating to moneys spent. The delegates then appointed 
by the barracks to deal with the matter constituted themselves 
into a regular committee to secure various improvements in the 
Camp, and to supplement, or rather quicken, the activity of 
the Captains. But although they were at first recognised by the 
Commandant they were disbanded by him a few weeks later 
(on February 24, 1915) on the plea that they had published 
minutes and notices which they were forbidden to do, and that 
they would not co-operate with the captains. The dissolution 
of this committee only exacerbated the feelings of the prisoners, 
and Mr. Trinks's successor, Mr. J. Powell (managing director of 
the German branch of the Eclair Film Company), did little or 
nothing to allay the prevalent discontent. Mr. Powell has 
undoubtedly accomplished a great deal for the betterment of 
the Camp, but any one of twenty other men would certainly 
have achieved as much, if not more, and in addition have won 
the respect and confidence of all his fellow-prisoners. But un- 
fortunately " Captain " Powell is afflicted with a regrettable 
brusqueness of manner, and his lightning method of addressing 
his fellow-prisoners may have been caught from the fleeting films 
that he controls. 

The only authority to whom we could appeal, in our various 
troubles, without running the risk of reprisals, was the American 
Ambassador, Mr. J. W. Gerard, who was entrusted with the 
interests of British subjects in Germany. He paid periodical 
visits to Ruhleben in order to enquire into grievances and to 
investigate conditions that needed reform, but his visits were 
hardly frequent enough to cope with the manifold evils that 
prevailed or to secure their prompt removal. Like the Com- 
mandant he always upheld the authority and rectitude of the 
captains, though he effected a temporary improvement in the 
Camp finance committee by the addition of two men who enjoyed 
general confidence. He was not slow to point out to the military 
authorities the wretched conditions that required instant better- 
ment, and succeeded in gradually bringing about various im- 
portant changes ; but our impatience, our peevishness, and our 
ignorance of diplomatic machinery probably made us at times 
disposed towards him in other than a fraternal spirit. He had 
the disbursing of funds from the British Government for the 



ADMINISTRATION, DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT 55 

relief of needy prisoners and the betterment of Camp conditions, 
and naturally treated on these matters with the Captain of the 
Camp, who was allowed to visit the Embassy once a week. 
Apart from Mr. Gerard various members of his staff, particularly 
Mr. G. W. Minot, and the medical expert, Dr. A. E. Taylor, also 
visited the Camp from time to time. The number of letters that 
passed each week between prisoners and the Embassy on all 
sorts of conceivable questions must have been legion. At first 
they were controlled only by the ordinary censorship, but after- 
wards they were subjected to an additional and stricter scrutiny 
on the part of Lieutenant Riidiger, the officer in charge of the 
' Furlough and Release Department," who, according as he 
thought fit, made a note of their contents for future reference, 
or suppressed them, or summoned the writers for a personal 
explanation. Thus, a certain prisoner who had ascertained that 
he had forfeited his British citizenship, and who applied to the 
American Embassy for an official declaration to that effect, in 
the hope that he would thereby secure his release, was bluntly 
informed by this officer that his letter would not be allowed to 
go through. 

Order within the Camp was maintained, not by the guards, 
whose authority was confined to their barracks and shared 
there with the captains, but by a police force recruited from the 
prisoners, consisting of an inspector, four sergeants, and fifty 
constables. The inspector was Mr. C. S. Butchart, a professional 
golfer, who had laid out courses for many German magnates ; 
whilst of the sergeants the two best known and most active were 
masters of mercantile ships, Captain E. Alcide and Captain J. 
Stewart. The constables, who were largely drawn from the sea- 
faring fraternity, were distinguished by a striped white-and-blue 
armlet, and by an enamel button with their number in blue on 
the lapel of their coat, whilst the officers had buttons with their 
rank marked in gilt letters. The duties of the police force, 
which was, of course, recognised by the military authorities, was 
to control the queues that formed up regularly outside the 
canteens, parcels office, " box-office," and hot-water house ; to 
keep order in the entertainment hall and on the sports ground ; 
and to signal us to bed at night with a shrill blast from their 
whistles. They were located in a special shed, which once was 
used as a grocery store, and which they fitted up as a sort of 



56 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

club-room. The police-station also did duty as a lost property 
office, and the notice-board always recorded a long list of articles 
found, such as pipes, pocket-knives, pencil-cases, gloves, tennis- 
balls, etc., which, if unclaimed, were sold by auction every six 
months for the benefit of the Camp fund. The police discharged 
their duties energetically and tactfully, and even provided a 
night patrol in the interior of the Camp ; and the success of their 
labours — or perhaps the peace-loving character of the citizens 
of Ruhleben — was attested by the fewness of arrests. 

Breaches of the regulations were punished, according to their 
gravity, by the military authorities with confinement in the 
cells or imprisonment in the Stadtvogtei Jail. The commonest 
offences were smoking in barracks and burning naked candles, 
whilst there was quite a host of misdemeanours, which, though 
not tabulated, were visited with severe penalties. Thus, a man 
who, from the top of the barrack staircase, looked over the wall 
at passers-by, or who shirked the compulsory weekly bath, or 
who engaged in private trading, or whom the guard accused 
of insolence or insubordination, was liable, without hearing, 
to be confined in a small, ill-lit cell for twenty-four, forty-eight, 
or seventy- two hours. Such offenders, before incarceration, 
were taken to the guard-room, where their case was entered into 
a book, and they were temporarily deprived of the contents of 
their pockets and of their braces. The cells were in Barrack XI, 
as this was already occupied in September, 1914 ; they comprised 
two horse-boxes, each divided by a wooden partition into two 
cells, which were furnished merely with a wooden plank for a 
bed. There the offenders, equipped solely with their blankets 
and bowl, with a ration of black " war bread " and cold water 
each day, ruminated and repented without interruption, save 
for a periodical excursion to the " bog," on which they were 
accompanied by a sentry, and in the course of which their 
friends managed to pass them some eatables. After completing 
their sentence the prisoners had to sweep their cells with a broom, 
and they then received their belongings — and their braces — back 
again. Once a prisoner who was in the " Lazaret " on account 
of heart trouble, and who was caught smoking, was sent to the 
cells for seventy-two hours, and then returned to the hospital 
to resume his interrupted cure. One of the most curious offences 
for which " seventy-two hours " were imposed was the making 




m 



THE MILITARY GUARD 




THE CIVILIAN POLICE 



ADMINISTRATION, DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT 57 

of a skylight in the roof of a hay-loft. The culprit was a staid 
academic gentleman of fifty, to whom this sentence was doubt- 
less the most momentous he had ever heard pronounced against 
him ; but although he pleaded the necessity of ventilating and 
illuminating the dark hole in which he dwelt, he was declared 
guilty of " damaging military property." He was the hero of 
the hour, and upon his liberation was entertained to tea by his 
friends. 

As long as the soldiers were in charge of the barracks they 
were eager to catch us committing some offence, as their report 
would be regarded as proof of their zeal. The head-guard in 
my barrack, whenever he found something wrong, repeatedly 
threatened us : "I shall report it to the Baron ! " He was not 
slow to use his fist when roused, and I once saw him kick a middle- 
aged man, a merchant of standing, in the small of the back, 
because the latter was cleaning his dinner-bowl over the sink at 
the end of the passage — the only possible place where he could 
clean it. During the early months of our internment almost all 
the barrack-guards were strict and occasionally savage, and 
showed scant ceremony in dragging us out of bed at six-thirty, 
if we were still between our sheets when they pulled our doors 
open ; but in the course of time they were tamed, partly as a 
result of improved acquaintance, and partly by reason of the 
perquisites that fell to their lot. The cases of brutality occurred 
almost all during the first winter. One of the worst was the 
battering and bruising of a poor Maltese lad, without provoca- 
tion, by a cowardly soldier ; though much worse was the case of a 
sailor who was so badly bruised in his cell by a couple of guards 
that he had to be removed to the Camp hospital, where he died. 
On one occasion a prisoner in Barrack VII, while washing early 
in the morning in the passage, was violently assaulted by a 
soldier, who was punished by being transferred from the easy job 
of barrack-guard to the much more arduous one of sentry. 
There was a certain Feldwebel Meyer, who was notorious for his 
cruelty, and who, one summer night, out of pure malignity, 
threw a lot of prisoners' underclothing that was hanging on a 
line into a dustbin, and pitched several deck-chairs into a trench 
that was being dug in front of Barrack VII. He was reported 
lo the Baron for this act of malevolence, but it was not until 
he had been caught drunk and sentenced to a day in the cell 



I 
58 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

that his prowess was given an opportunity of distinguishing itself 
at the front. 

The offences for which prisoners were sent to the " Stadtvog- 
tei " in Berlin were generally of a graver order. They included 
the smuggling of letters, attempts to escape, theft, drunkenness, 
and various technical misdemeanours. A man who, writing to his 
sister in England, expressed the hope that, while rowing in the 
English Channel she would torpedo some German submarines, 
was sent to jail for five days to repent of his folly. Another, 
who wrote to his mother that he was exposed to the caprices of 
a certain officer, was sentenced to a fortnight. Another, again, 
who called out " Sherlock Holmes " after an officer who had 
come from Berlin to enquire into the escape of two prisoners, 
was given five weeks in which to reflect upon his unappreciated 
humour. Still another caused his transference to the prison by 
practising as a doctor to his fellow-prisoners. One of the most 
remarkable cases was that of a young fellow who was alleged 
to have said that a pig-sty was too good for the Kaiser to live 
in, and who, on account of this presumed Majestdtsbeleidigung, 
had to spend four months of solitary confinement, on common 
prison fare, in two different jails. The severest sentence was 
that imposed upon those who escaped from the Camp and who 
were caught before they could reach the frontier : they have to 
remain in the " Stadtvogtei " in solitary confinement until the 
end of the war. At the time of writing, so far as my knowledge 
goes, there are five men who are undergoing this inhuman 
punishment for yielding to what was only a human impulse. 
They at least know that they are doomed to remain in their 
cells until the end of the war. But those whose offences are 
admittedly of a lighter character are not told at the time of their 
imprisonment the length of their sentence, and do not know it 
until the moment of their liberation — a method. which is a specific 
characteristic of Prussian Kultur. 

Early in the summer of 1916, owing to the inadequacy of the 
four punishment cells in the Camp for petty offenders, and the 
apparent reluctance of the authorities to send too many offenders 
to the " Stadtvogtei," a portion of the wooden Barrack XIV, at 
a remote and insalubrious end of the Camp, was boarded off to 
form a detention barracks. Adjoining it outside was rigged up 
a wire fence, leaving an enclosure about twenty feet square, 



ADMINISTRATION, DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT 59 

within which the inmates could take exercise : an indulgence 
of which they rarely availed themselves, however, so as to avoid 
the bantering comments of their " free " fellow-prisoners. This 
detention barracks, owing to the appearance of the wire fence, 
was nicknamed the " bird-cage," whilst the German-speaking 
prisoners who lived in its vicinity called it " Hagenbeck," after 
the famous " Zoo " in Hamburg. The " bird-cage " received 
most of its recruits from those who turned up late at the early 
morning parades, and who received a minimum sentence of 
three days. The longest period of detention in the " bird-cage " 
was twenty-eight days, and any offender who was considered 
to deserve a severer penalty was sent under military escort to 
the " Stadtvogtei." Those who, in former days, were sent to 
the Camp cells, and, still more so, those who were sent to the 
Berlin prison, unless they were guilty of offences that were 
punishable in civil law, invariably aroused our sympathy ; but, 
by a curious psychological unreasoning, the men who were con- 
demned to the " bird-cage," whether deservedly or not, seldom^ 
evoked anything but ironical consolation, owing to the facetious 
suggestion of their place of confinement. 



CHAPTER VIII 

COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 

Camp Committees — Barrack officials — Filching our money — The post and 
the censors — The laundry-man — Cleaning arrangements — Firemen — Manage- 
ment of kitchens — Work-gangs — Constructing roads — The bread supply — 
Canteens and " Pond-Stores " — Finance — Relief Fund — Profits of industries — 
Committees on Education, Entertainments, and Sports — Parcels post — Import- 
ance of parcels. 



"^HE Ruhleben Camp can best be conceived as a captive 
community under the military control of the enemy, 
but with its own civilian self-government. All the 
hardships its inhabitants had to endure were due to the enemy 
control ; all the comforts — such as they were — that we were 
able to enjoy were the fruits of our own efforts. The varied 
activities that were carried on in our collective interest were 
entrusted to special committees, some of whose members were 
competent and honourable, whilst others were mere puppets. 
There were committees for the kitchens, the canteens, sanita- 
tion, watch and works, finance, education, entertainments, and 
sports control. These committees were appointed by the 
Captains' Committee, and consisted generally of two captains and 
three members of the general community of prisoners. The two 
captains on each committee acted as its chairman and vice- 
chairman respectively, so that the civil administration of the 
Camp was centralised in the hands of the Captains' Committee. 
This supreme body included, in addition to the barrack captains, 
a gentleman who acted as Camp secretary and treasurer. Mr. 
J. P. Jones, a chartered accountant by profession, who filled 
this post from the beginning of our internment, discharged his 
labours with painstaking efficiency and unwearying zeal. The 
captains received no honorarium for their work, though rumour 
boldly and cynically hinted that some of them were fortunate 

60 



COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 61 

in the particular department to which they were attached. 
They were all, so far as the military authorities were concerned, 
subject to the same control as their fellow-prisoners, though 
they generally had an easier task in securing a day's furlough. 
Let us first of all examine the government of an individual 
barrack, and then we shall consider the activity of the general 
Camp Committee. 

The barrack-captain appointed a vice-captain to assist him 
in the general management of his little domain, and likewise two 
sub-captains for the two sections into which each loft was usually 
divided. These officials were distinguished by an enamel button 
bearing the name of their rank and barrack. He also appointed 
a cashier, two postmen, a laundryman, two policemen, two fire- 
men, and cleaners. The cashier received from the military 
cashier's orifice any money that arrived for the men in his barrack, 
and which he was allowed to pay out at the rate of about fifty 
marks (£2 10s.) a fortnight to each man. With the first instal- 
ment of the remittance the prisoner received the Dutch post- 
office voucher showing the amount in English currency and 
likewise its German equivalent. Until the first week in May, 
1916, these vouchers were very welcome documents, for they 
showed us that we would receive up to twenty-six marks for the 
sovereign ; but on May 7 a new order was issued by the military 
authorities to the effect that we would receive only twenty marks 
40 pfennige (or 20.43) for the sovereign, the difference being con- 
fiscated by the German Government. The reason given for this 
audacious spoliation was that it was an act of reprisal for the 
depreciation of the German mark in enemy countries. 

The business of the postman was to collect our letters, take 
them to the military post office, and bring back our mail. Each 
prisoner was allowed to write two nine-lined postcards or one 
four-paged letter in each week, and a careful record was kept 
by the postmen to prevent any man from exceeding his monthly 
allowance. Occasionally one could write business-letters, which 
were not included in the ordinary quota ; and those who wished 
to send express letters or money to addresses in Germany had 
the facility for doing so. Many men found the allotted amount 
of personal correspondence too little for their needs, and wrote, 
in addition, under the names of those who did not use up all 
their letters and cards ; but this device was soon detected by 



I 

62 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

the authorities and suppressed. Many, too, indulged in private 
codes which were wrapped up in the most innocent domestic 
phraseology, though occasionally the military censors scented I 
danger where none existed. A humble tailor in the Jewish 
barrack was once summoned to the head-censor and accused of 
employing a secret cypher. The poor man was speechless with j 
amazement and protested his innocence. Then the censor 
showed him a postcard addressed to him, which bore at the foot 
some cryptic-looking characters. The tailor immediately un- 
ravelled them as a Yiddish greeting in Hebrew cursive script 
from a friend who could not write either English or German. 

We dropped our missives into the letter-box that was fixed 
on the door of the postman's horse-box. The receptacle was 
generally a cigar-box with a slit at the top, pasted over with 
a design that recalled the plates on English pillar-boxes, and 
it was cleared twice a day. All communications, in addition to 
being carefully scrutinised by the military censors, were, if 
intended for abroad, held back for ten days " on military 
grounds " ; though in cases where sufficient reason for urgency 
could be shown, communications were at once stamped " F.a." 
(Frist abgelanfen, i.e. delay expired) and sent off. Since the 
beginning of April, 1916, letters from England to Ruhleben have 
also been held back for ten days on similar grounds, so that on 
the average a prisoner has to wait six to eight weeks for a reply 
to his message. The mail was distributed every afternoon about 
three o'clock by the barrack-postman, who was always awaited 
by an eager crowd, and who received a glad response to the name 
on each letter or card that he called out. The postmen were 
distinguished by enamel buttons bearing a postillion's horn. 

The business of the laundryman was to collect the money for 
our washing-bills and settle with the representative of the 
Berlin laundry which enriched itself by taking in our washing. 
The service, on the whole, was good and reliable, though rather 
expensive, a 10 per cent supplement having been demanded 
since the autumn of 1915 on account of the increased cost of 
washing materials. The laundry-cart came every day of the 
week, including Sunday, and visited each barrack once a week. 
It unloaded a pile of neat brown-paper parcels, with our numbers 
marked in blue pencil, and went away laden with another pile 
of dirty bundles. For a certain period the cart was accompanied 



COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 63 

by a girl, who attended to these parcels, and who naturally 
aroused much good-humoured comment in the womanless com- 
munity ; but owing to the allegation, which was utterly un- 
founded, that she allowed some of the dirty bundles to contain 
contraband articles for friends outside, her visits were forbidden 
and her place was taken by an incorruptible veteran. Many 
men preferred to give their linen to the various laundries con- 
ducted within the Camp, especially by Britain's coloured 
subjects ; whilst those with straitened means did their own wash- 
ing, at first in the barrack-passage, and from June, 1915, in the 
wash-house, which had also to serve as drying-room. 

The function of the barrack policemen was to assist the 
Captain in maintaining peace and order within the barrack, and 
more particularly to supervise the work of the cleaners. Each 
horse-box was swept out daily by its occupants, or by anybody 
else whom they cared to employ ; but the sweeping and swilling 
of the central passage was entrusted to two men who were each 
paid about five marks a week out of a fund to which all the 
inmates of the barrack contributed ten pfennige (about one 
penny) a week. The cleaners had also to remove daily in a 
wooden crate the little tin boxes and canisters that had contained 
preserved meats, fruits, or biscuits, from England, and that 
were useless to the owners : the tin receptacles were gathered 
from all barracks, heaped together at the far end of the Camp, 
and afterwards conveyed in railway-trucks to an ammunition 
factory. Thus did the Prussian War Office, with its marvellous 
system of utilising refuse, directly benefit by the contents of 
3ur parcels. The cleaners had also to remove periodically the 
large wooden box stationed in the doorway of each barrack, into 
which we threw pieces of old and mouldy bread. It was no 
unusual sight in the later months, when bread became scarce, 
to see some of our coloured fellow-prisoners and even our German 
guards rummaging among these boxes to discover bits of bread 
that were still eatable. The pieces taken away were said to be 
used for swines' food. In addition to the crate for tins and the 
dox for bread remnants, each barrack was furnished outside 
with a large wooden bin for miscellaneous rubbish, which was 
:leared every week by a paid work-gang ; and also with a barrel 
: or liquid refuse, such as dinner and tea slops, which was like- 
wise removed by paid workers. On the wall above the dust- 



64 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 






bin was a notice strictly forbidding the throwing of bread or the 
emptying of slops into this receptacle, and many a man had 
" seventy-two hours " for violating the rule. As for the firemen, 
their duty was to fill a pail with water and hurry with it to the 
scene of the reported conflagration whenever a fire-drill took 
place. Throughout the period of my internment there was no ( 
more serious outbreak than the smouldering of some papers in 
an outhouse ; and only on one occasion was the hose brought 
into play, just for practice sake, when it was directed against 
the roof of the negroes' wooden barrack and aroused the childish 
delight of the occupants. 

When we first came into the Camp the kitchens were in the 
hands of a private contractor, who was paid by the military 
authority sixty-six pfennige (eightpence) per head per day for 
the three scanty meals that he provided us. Formerly a humble 
cardboard-box maker, the contractor amassed a little fortune 
by spiriting out at night the carcases of meat that he brought in 
during the day for our consumption ; but as soon as the swindle 
was detected the military authorities undertook the commissariat, 
themselves, and in March, 1915, placed the two kitchens entirely 
in the hands of the prisoners. The captains then appointed two ( 
honorary inspectors to look after each kitchen (Messrs. R. H. 
Carrad and G. Ferguson, and Messrs. E. Pyke and H. Kastner) 
and an expert meat inspector (Mr. J. Gelin), whilst a staff of 
about forty men was engaged for the work of each kitchen. 
This staff included cooks, butchers, potato-peelers, boiler men, 
waggon men, firemen, etc., and the total weekly wages bill, 
paid by the American Embassy from British funds, was 464 
marks, of which 150 marks were borne by the military authorities. 

From the very first days of our internment, whenever any 
rough work in the Camp had to be done, volunteers were called 
for in some of the barracks, and if a sufficient number of men 
did not respond anybody who happened to be standing near 
was ordered by the non-commissioned officers to fall in with the 
volunteers and assist them. This method of carrying out public 
work was repugnant to the prisoners and detrimental to the 
work. Although an attempt was made to requisition helpers from 
all the. barracks in turn, many men disappeared when the call 
for volunteers was issued ; others deliberately refused on the 
ground that the military authorities had no right to compel 



COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 65 

them to work ; so that the soldiers in charge of the work-gangs 
capriciously seized upon any passer-by, irrespective of age, 
strength, or suitability, and pressed him into service. Early 
in 1915 a scheme was worked out by which all men fit for work 
in each barrack were divided into gangs of fifteen with a foreman, 
who would be called upon in rotation ; but this scheme im- 
mediately broke down. Matters came to a head when the 
kitchens were taken over by the military authorities, as there 
were many tons of potatoes, turnips, and other food-stuffs which 
had arrived for the Camp at the Ruhleben railway siding, and 
which had to be unloaded and hauled in carts to the far end of 
the Camp, a distance of about half a mile along a very bad road. 
The gangs that were collected for the work consisted mostly of 
men who were utterly unaccustomed to such heavy labour, 
with the result that the work proceeded slowly and friction 
ensued between the prisoners and their guards. It was therefore 
found inevitable that paid gangs should be formed of men fit 
for and used to such work. Accordingly four gangers or foremen 
were appointed whose duty was to engage and supervise as many 
men as were necessary for carrying out particular jobs, and the 
general supervision of the fatigue parties was entrusted to Mr. 
Lawrence M. Sharp, the wages being paid out of British funds. 
Until the beginning of March, 1915, the chief work that had 
to be performed consisted in emptying the rubbish bins that 
were in front of the barracks into a cart, and hauling the refuse 
out of the camp to some trenches half a mile away into which it 
was deposited. The trenches had also been excavated by forced 
parties. But with the transference of the kitchen management 
to the prisoners, the fatigue parties had regularly to haul all food 
supplies from the railway siding to the kitchen. They also con- 
structed about half a mile of roads across the swamps and 
morasses through which we had to wade in the first winter, and 
brought cartloads of ashes from a neighbouring electric-light 
station and engineering works for the purpose ; they assisted in 
the overhauling and repairing of the drains ; they carried out 
some gardening in a small wood beyond the precincts of the 
Camp, which was reserved for the use of the military officers ; 
and they unloaded all the parcels from England delivered at the 
railway siding and hauled them into the Camp in a heaped-up cart 
dragged with the aid of ropes. The foremen were paid ten marks 

5 



66 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

a week without overtime, whilst the men in the gangs received 
five marks and overtime at proportionate rates. But they were 
certainly not overworked, as they had only six hours' work a day, 
three hours on Saturday, and a complete rest on Sunday. 

In addition to the three " meals " from the kitchen, we were 
also given, during the first few months, a three-pound loaf of 
black "war-bread" every three days. This bread was made 
of wheat, rye, and potato-meal, with an occasional admixture 
of bran and straw wisps. I often found wisps one inch long in 
this Kriegsbrot, which was very unpalatable at first, but which 
we made appetizing with a liberal coating of butter and mar- 
garine with jam. Owing to the gritty nature of some of its 
ingredients, this bread often caused diarrhoea, and it was es- 
chewed as much as possible. Until Christmas, 1914, we could 
buy fresh rolls in the morning, and for another two months we 
could still buy brown bread at the canteen. But from about 
March, 1915, we were wholly restricted to the " war-bread," 
which was especially made for prisoners of war and was much 
inferior to any bread sold to the German population. Simul- 
taneously with this restriction the allowance was reduced from 
one-third to one-fifth of a loaf (about ten ounces) per day, but 
as a compensation we were occasionally given potatoes and dried 
herrings for supper. At first the entire barrack had to march 
under military escort every third, and then every fifth, day to the 
military store in the Camp, where each man received his loaf ; 
later a certain number went up in rotation to fetch the entire 
supply for the barrack ; and as the last stage in the " bread- 
fetching " every barrack was supplied with two large baskets, 
and the loaves were fetched in them by paid carriers. But 
simultaneously with the improvement in the bread-fetching 
machinery increased our independence of it, for we began to 
receive white loaves, and " Ho vis " and " Veda " loaves from 
England, and later still, but more important, two long white 
loaves in perforated brown "cartons" from the "Bureau de Secours 
aux Prisonniers de Guerre" at Berne. The bread from England 
often arrived, especially in summer, in an unsuitable condition, 
owing to the mould developed in the three weeks' journey, but 
the Berne bread, despite its many holes, was welcome, as it 
reached us in seven or eight days. Many months after the 
restriction of " war-bread " was introduced we were able to buy 






COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 67 

at the Camp bread-store a somewhat superior brown loaf, about 
two pounds in weight, for sixpence, but comparatively few 
prisoners availed themselves of the opportunity owing to the 
regular supply of Berne bread. 

The food gratuitously supplied by the military authorities, 
if it had all been eatable, might possibly have kept us on the 
verge of subsistence ; but fortunately we were able to supple- 
ment our scanty rations by purchases at the canteens. One of 
these was devoted to the sale of such articles as butter, margarine, 
cheese, jam, sugar, sardines, etc., whilst the other, in a little 
shed all by itself, was the emporium for tinned fruits, tinned 
vegetables, sweets, and similar luxuries. The latter canteen, 
owing to the large pond that formed around it whenever heavy 
rains fell, was christened " Pond Stores," and when it was re- 
moved in the autumn of 1915 to the Ruhleben shopping centre 
it was designated on a sign-board, " Ye Olde Ponde Stores." 
The serving in the canteens was at first done by German girls, 
but six months after our internment all such " petticoat influ- 
ence ' ' was rigorously removed, and the canteens were staffed 
by prisoners clad in white grocers' overalls. Our shopping 
centre received the name of " Bond Street," though anything 
so unlike that fashionable thoroughfare it would have been 
difficult to imagine. In Bond Street were ranged on one side 
the grocery, coffee and mineral water drinks, dry stores (pencils, 
brushes, copy-books, laces, etc.), tobacconist, shoemaker, tailor, 
and watchmaker ; whilst on the other side were the police 
station (afterwards removed across the way), book and music 
shop, special orders office, " gentlemen's outfitters," theatre 
box-office, and photograph orders office. Outside the grocery 
and dry stores were prominent price-lists, with an indication of 
the articles not in stock, which latterly grew in number and 
importance. There was a sensation in October, 1915, when a 
notice announced that the price of butter had risen to three 
marks, and a panic later when a fresh notice declared that the 
arrival of further consignments of butter was extremely improb- 
able. The prices at the canteens, which were all under the 
control of prisoners, supervised by the Canteen Committee, 
fluctuated considerably : at first higher prices were demanded 
than those in Berlin, and then the prices of necessaries were 
reduced below the Berlin tariff, whilst the prices of luxuries 



68 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

(candied fruits, tinned vegetables, etc.) were slightly raised, so 
that the profit on the latter partially covered the loss on the 
former. The German woman who originally had charge of the 
" Pond Stores " afterwards acted as buyer for the canteens, 
especially of fresh fruit and greengrocery. At the special orders 
office we were able to order from Berlin any artide not stocked 
at the various canteens, such as a table, deck-chair, portmanteau, 
and so forth ; but we had to wait about ten days before the 
arrival of the articles (of which we were informed by a card 
delivered by our internal post) and we then had to pay a commis- 
sion of about 10 per cent on the price, which was pocketed by 
the military authorities. All the orders sent out of the Camp 
had to pass through the military control, so that it was impossible 
to escape being mulcted in this fashion ; and if any prisoners 
addressed an order direct to a Berlin firm it was returned or 
suppressed by the German Censor. The authorities also exacted 
a commission of 7^ per cent on the sales at all the canteens. 

The important and complicated questions of finance involved 
by the foregoing and other activities were in the hands of a 
special committee, of which Mr. J. P. Jones was chairman. 
Three separate accounts were kept : the Camp Fund account, 
which comprised the payment of fatigue gangs, repairs and 
losses, and general Camp improvements ; the Relief Fund 
account, comprising the weekly distribution of relief money to 
needy prisoners ; and the Surplus Profits, etc., account. The 
funds for the first two accounts were supplied by the American 
Embassy in Berlin from money remitted for the purpose by the 
British Government. The doling out of a weekly sum of five 
marks to destitute prisoners (about 1600 in all) began in the 
spring of 1915 : the allowance was only a loan, and each re- 
cipient had to sign a weekly undertaking that he would repay 
the amount as soon as circumstances permitted. Careful inquiry 
was made by the Relief Fund Committee and by the barrack 
captains to prevent any abuse of the fund, and after the weekly 
allowance was temporarily reduced in the spring of 1916 to 
three marks (upon the discovery that the total weekly takings 
at the canteens were actually less than the total weekly sum 
distributed in relief), it was again raised to four marks. The 
Surplus Profits fund was made up out of profits on the dry 
stores, boiler-house (hot water supply), proceeds of concerts, 







CANTEENS AND STORES 







THE BILL-POSTING STATION 



COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 69 

library fines, etc., and was applied partly to covering losses on 
various Camp enterprises, and partly to the reduction of prices 
of food-stuffs. Thus, in the period from November 6, 1914, 
to September 30, 1915, the sum of 39,851 marks was realized 
as profits, of which 26,668 marks were devoted to covering losses 
on the canteen (23,660 marks), " Pond Stores," the tailoring, 
carpenters' and barbers' shops, and the building of new shops, 
leaving a balance of 13,182 marks to be applied to reducing the 
prices of food-stuffs. The boiler-house, at which we obtained 
hot water at a very small charge (by means of tickets, which 
were sold in books of fifty for one mark, and one of which entitled 
you to a good-sized can of hot water), produced a profit of over 
900 marks in three months. 

The Finance Committee included within its operations all the 
various business undertakings conducted within the Camp, such 
as tailors, shoemakers, watchmakers, carpenters, and barbers, 
and the military authorities forbade all private trading, so that 
a good portion of the profits made on the industry and commerce 
in the Ruhleben community was devoted to wiping out com- 
mercial losses and reducing the prices of food-stuffs. There 
was a constant and considerable amount of criticism by the 
prisoners of the administration of the Camp's finances, at first 
owing to the veil of secrecy that was hung over them, and after- 
wards owing to the manner in which many different items were 
lumped together ia the balance-sheets ; and although the 
accounts were audited by chartered accountants and checked 
and passed by the American Embassy's accountant, it is re- 
grettable that the captains never succeeded in bringing to rest 
the tongue of rumour that uttered so many uncharitable things 
about them. Charges, however unfounded, that were ceaselessly 
circulated, were ultimately believed because no serious attempt 
was made to refute them. 

The Committees of the Education, Entertainments, and 
Sports departments all had their separate accounts, from which 
parts of the profits were also transferred to the Surplus Profits 
fund. The Education Committee had control over the Camp 
School, the lectures, literary circles, libraries, and the periodicals 
published at Ruhleben. The Entertainments Committee em- 
braced within its scope the affairs of the dramatic societies, the 
musical society, the debating society, and the cinema palace ; 



70 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

whilst the Sports Control Committee governed all the various 
sporting activities — football and cricket, golf and tennis, hockey 
and lacrosse, " la pelote " and physical drill. 

There remains one other important feature in the scheme of 
organization : the parcel post. This was naturally under the 
control of the military authorities, but all the hard work con- 
nected therewith was discharged by the prisoners. The parcels 
from England were conveyed through Holland in sealed vans 
that arrived intact at the railway siding opposite the Camp. 
The vans were opened by the military authorities in the presence 
of prisoners, and their contents were loaded by the fatigue parties 
on to carts which they dragged — sixteen men at a time — to the 
parcels office in the Camp. Voluntary workers sorted out the 
parcels and made out alphabetical lists each day of the prisoners 
for whom packages arrived. There were separate adjoining 
offices for parcels from England and for those from Germany, 
and there were separate alphabetical lists arranged ; and it was 
instructive to note how in the course of time the English list 
gradually lengthened and the German list gradually shrank. 
The lists were posted early in the morning on one of the boiler- 
houses, and the delivery of the parcels began at eight in summer 
and at nine in winter. The prisoners lined up outside the office- 
window, in two separate lines, A to K, and L to Z, according 
to the initials of their surnames, and signed for the slips entitling 
them to their parcels ; and afterwards they waited until their 
names were called out. Very often half an hour and even more 
elapsed between the time a man lined up and the time he left with 
his happy burden, so that many prisoners engaged and paid their 
poorer comrades to do the waiting and fetching for them. But 
before a parcel was handed over a military officer or "' non- 
com." opened it and examined its contents, to see whether it 
contained such contraband articles as whisky, English news- 
papers, or letters, which were invariably confiscated, though 
letters were delivered after passing through the censorship. The 
prisoners at Ruhleben were absolutely dependent upon parcels 
of food-stuffs, owing to their scanty rations, and the number of 
those received from relatives, friends, and various professional 
and charitable societies gradually rose until they amounted to 
about 40,000 in May, 1916. But in consequence of the dis- 
quieting reports received from Dr. A. E. Taylor, the medical 



COMMUNAL ORGANIZATION 71 

expert of the American Embassy, on the decline in quality and 
quantity of the Camp fare, and on the fact that a few hundred 
prisoners received no parcels at all, the British Government 
began to dispatch 600 parcels a day for free distribution, quite 
apart from the increased shoals of parcels still sent by private 
individuals and public bodies. 

Note to Page 61 . — In consequence of representations on the matter made by 
the British Government, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was informed 
early in October, 1916, that remittances by money order to British prisoners of 
war in Germany would now be paid in full, and that the sums previously 
deducted by the German military authorities would be credited to the payees 
(The Times, Oct. 6, 1916). 



CHAPTER IX 

EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 

Camp hardships — Fashions in dress — Domestic duties — Bill-posting station — 
Parcels delivered by hand — Prohibition of visits from mothers and wives — After- 
noon walks — Humour under difficulties — Bathing excursion — Chess tournament 
— Concert in a stable-passage — A scene of varied occupations — Christmas — 
Handel's Messiah — Epidemics of diarrhoea — Beetles in soup — Perpetual parades 
— A " bloody " incident — The Kaiser's birthday— Stoppage of correspondence — 
Fresh arrivals — Removal of French and Russian prisoners— Colonials' release 
and return — Furloughs — The Hamburg bank clerks — American Ambassador's 
first visit — " We want bread ! " — Visitors from the Kommandantur — A " Burns 
Nicht " — Mysterious Irish meeting — First dramatic performance — A Mock 
Trial. 

THE Camp was in a lamentable state of unpreparedness 
when we were first interned, and we had many hard- 
ships to endure throughout the winter. We suffered 
not only because of the insalubrious quarters in which we were 
housed, or rather stabled, but also because of the insufficient 
heating and lighting, the lack of hot water, and the vast swamps 
that formed throughout the Camp whenever there were heavy 
rains. We tried to make our horse-boxes as habitable and 
comfortable as possible, swept away the cobwebs periodically, 
and adorned the nakedness of the walls with bright English 
pictures and photographs, whilst many a man slung a curtain 
across his bed so as to secure a semblance of privacy. But how- 
ever cosy we might make our boxes we could not remain in 
them long at a time, as we froze to the marrow, and we grew 
tired of stamping our feet on the floor-board to our mutual 
annoyance. For the first few weeks we had no heating at all, 
and after the boilers had at last arrived and we impatiently 
watched the workmen fixing the radiators in the stable-passages 
our bodies grew warm in anticipation ; but when the boilers 
began to work our bodies grew cold again, for the heating did 
not take effect until midday and was cut off again at six o'clock. 

72 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 73 

So we had to make ourselves warm by taking vigorous walks, 
to and fro, along the parade in front of the grand stands, though 
our hurried constitutionals were often cut short by a biting 
wind, a penetrating drizzle, or a blinding snowstorm. 

We soon shed the hats and collars of civilisation and donned 
cloth or woollen caps, which we pulled over our ears, and huge 
woollen mufflers which we wrapped around us ; and then we 
put aside our box-calf boots, unless we had goloshes for them, 
and put on huge clogs (after swathing our feet with flannel and 
wearing an extra pair of woollen socks) or Wellington boots, 
which made a fearful clattering on the stone floor of the stable- 
passage. Later, many men arrayed themselves on wet days, 
of which we had a surfeit, in oilskins and sou'-westers, and as 
we tramped to and fro we looked like a strange medley of 
Arctic explorers, lifeboatmen, and Norwegian ski-runners. 
The sailors were the best apparelled for the adverse conditions 
of soil and weather to which we were exposed, and they were 
the hardiest too. But the ordinary land-lubber, who had to 
wade ankle-deep through mud and sleet and snow, on his three 
daily journeys to the kitchen to fetch his meals, uttered many 
a smothered oath as he felt the water penetrate to his skin. Yet 
there were repeated cries of " Are we down-hearted ? " as we 
tramped through the miry morass, answered by a lusty deter- 
mined " No ! " from hundreds of throats. An inventive prisoner 
manufactured wooden soles, about two inches thick, which we 
could secure below our boots by means of string and straps, and 
thus partially protect our feet, and he did a brisk trade with 
them at one mark per pair. The plight of the poor prisoners 
who had no change of clothing, as well as of those who could not 
receive any from home except after long delay, was indeed sad 
until the American Embassy sent in large consignments of 
underclothing, sweaters, corduroys, socks, caps, and head 
protectors, and protectors for soles. These articles were bought 
partly with voluntary subscriptions raised in our midst in our 
first week's internment, and partly with money from the British 
Government. They were distributed by the captains in their 
respective barracks gratuitously to the needy, and at a nominal 
charge to those with some means. 

We found some distraction in those early days in doing various 
domestic duties that had formerly been discharged for us by 



74 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

others. We swept our horse-box every morning, we blacked 
our boots, we shook our straw sacks and bedding, we cleaned 
our crockery under the stable-taps, and made our knives bright 
by thrusting them into the sandy soil. Some of us were even 
adept enough to patch a pair of trousers, sew a button on, or 
darn a sock. But it was not long before the miserable monotony 
of these occupations palled upon us, and we employed men, at 
rates from one to two marks a week, to relieve us of such work ; 
whilst the professional tailors, darners, carpenters, shoeblacks, 
and others, who advertised their craft on the central boiler-house, 
soon attracted plentiful custom. The boiler-house became a 
regular bill-posting station, and was gradually plastered with all 
sorts of notices and announcements, private and official, some 
mere pencil scrawls, others well printed by a practised sign- 
writer, and others again adorned with some coloured device or 
character, that gave life and variety to the dingy walls of the 
boiler-house. There we read that James McHuggins, of Barrack 
XI, Box 30, repaired boots and shoes better and cheaper than 
anybody else in the Camp ; that N.G.T., of Barrack III, Loft B, 
was willing to exchange Spanish for Russian conversation ; that 
all who were interested in forming a dramatic society should 
communicate with Mr. X, Barrack II ; that all who would like 
to form a British Ruhleben Association for social intercourse 
after their return to England should meet on the following 
Saturday morning, at 9 a.m., on the Second Grand Stand ; that 
Mr. R.H.B., m.a., B.sc. (Lond.), of Barrack VII, Box 19, was 
open to coach pupils for any of the London examinations in arts 
or science ; that Mr. Y, of Barrack V, Loft A, late of Sheffield, 
would like to meet Mr. Z, who, he understood, was also in the 
Camp ; that Mr. S. McT., of Barrack IX, Box 13, would award 
two marks to the gentleman who restored to him his notebook, 
which was of no use to anybody except the owner. In this wise 
did we get to know of one another's business, aspirations, and 
misfortunes ; and as we moved from one notice to the other we 
exchanged comment and criticism, that sometimes led to lengthy 
conversation and sometimes to an agreeable acquaintanceship. 

In the early days the monotony was somewhat broken by the 
parcels delivered at the gate by the mothers, wives, sisters, and 
sweethearts of prisoners domiciled in Berlin, and by the frantic 
efforts of the latter to catch a fleeting glimpse of the dear one as 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 75 

the sentry held the gate ajar for half a minute. But the crowding 
of the prisoners every morning near the entrance, despite the 
efforts of our civilian police to keep them at a distance, led the 
military authorities to prohibit the personal delivery of parcels, 
which had henceforth all to be sent through the post. More- 
over, the women who brought the gifts were not content to go 
away without exchanging a word, or at least a glance, with 
those whose lot they wished to lighten ; and so the prisoners 
would stand on the top of some of the wooden staircases that led 
to the hay-lofts, whence they could overlook the boundary-wall 
and sign or call out to their kinsfolk below, who were driven on 
by the unsympathetic sentries. Those prisoners who were 
caught by the barrack guards indulging in such forbidden con- 
versation, or even merely standing on the top of the staircases, 
were at once removed to the cells for twenty-four or forty-eight 
hours ; and it was not until a high wooden screen was built 
right along the balustrade of the staircase, and round the tops, 
that the pathetic attempts of the women to secure a glimpse of 
their men-folk ceased. The prohibition of visits from female 
relatives was bitterly felt by the prisoners ; and it was not until 
the 7th of April, 1916, seventeen months after our internment, 
that the bowels of mercy of the Prussian War Office were stirred, 
and prisoners were allowed to receive monthly visits from their 
mothers and wives. 

Our rigorous mode of life, aggravated by the inclement weather, 
produced an outbreak of colds, influenza, and rheumatism, and 
when the military doctor saw the corridor outside his room 
crowded every morning with patients, he decided that we must 
have recreation. The only exercise taken by most of the prisoners, 
apart from pacing the parade, consisted in looking on at a game 
of rounders in the space between Barracks II and XI, and 
getting cold feet. Football matches had also been played for 
a time, but they were stopped by the military authorities on the 
ground that the windows might be broken ; and besides, the 
ground used was soon required for the building of new barracks. 
The recreation prescribed by the doctor consisted of walks round 
the racing-track, which had hitherto been a closed paradise to 
us, but these walks were so arranged as to offer little attraction. 
They took place, not in the morning, when we were cold and had 
to rush about to get warm, but at two o'clock, before we had had 



76 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

time to digest our dinner. And as the walks were made com- 
pulsory, from which exemption could be obtained only by a 
doctor's certificate, many men escaped from what they con- 
sidered a nuisance by hiding. But once we were on the racing 
track, headed by our soldiers and captains, and striding four 
abreast, barrack after barrack, we recovered our good humour 
and struck up a tune to help us keep in good time, our favourite 
refrain being : 

" John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, 
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave ; 
John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave, 
As we go marching home ! " 

Occasionally a man would make a mouth-organ out of a pocket- 
comb and a piece of paper, and as he blared the melody forth we 
would sing a variant text : 

" John Brown's baby's got a pimple on its nose, 
John Brown's baby's got a pimple on its nose ; 
John Brown's baby's got a pimple on its nose, 
As we go marching home ! " 

And we had no sooner finished this stanza than another 
barrack, swinging alongside of us, would burst forth : 

" Glory, glory, Hallelujah, 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah ; 
Glory, glory, Hallelujah, 

As we go marching home ! " 

The humour that manifested itself on these marches, which 
were not complete until we had circled the outer racing-track 
three times, a distance of three miles in all, appeared in various 
other ways on different occasions. After the first fortnight we 
were not allowed, for several months, to see any other newspaper 
than the halfpenny midday rag, the Berliner Zeitung am Mittag, 
which seldom contained any news of importance ; but the 
prisoner who vended the paper went from barrack to barrack, 
shouting "Terrible Murder in Camden Town!' or "All the 
Winners ! " Naturally we all laughed at these familiar home 
cries, and the news vendor found a ready sale. But it was a 
strange sense of humour that made us roar with laughter or 
shout " Hurrah ! " whenever a fellow-prisoner smashed his dinner- 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 77 

bowl whilst cleaning it under the stable-tap, or better still, if he 
dropped it full of soup on the way from the kitchen. And it was 
an equally incongruous sense of the fitness of things that made 
some of us sing : 

" It's a long, long way to Tipperary," 

when we marched for our periodical bath to the Emigrants' 
Railway Station. Escorted by a couple of armed guards, and 
equipped with towel and soap, we trudged, two or three hundred 
at a time, each barrack in turn, through the entrance gate, and 
along the main road to the station on the other side, and in batches 
of twelve we stood for five minutes under a warm douche. These 
bathing excursions were at first looked forward to with pleasure, 
as we had a sense of freedom when marching outside the Camp ; 
but the bathing conditions were so wretched that many men 
preferred a stand-up bath in the privacy of their horse-box. 
There was always a wild rush to be among the first to get into 
the " dressing-room," which had an insufficient number of nails 
on the walls for our things, and was furnished only with three 
dirty old benches, without a scrap of carpet or matting on the 
floor ; and old men and young had to undress and stand naked 
together promiscuously beneath the showers. 

In our quest of distraction we took refuge in chess, and a 
regular chess epidemic broke out throughout the Camp. All the 
chess-players in each barrack played against one another, and 
then after each barrack had formed its team, an inter-barrack 
chess tournament was arranged, which helped us to while away 
many a dreary evening. Reading was difficult, even for those 
who had sufficient mental repose to concentrate upon a book ; 
but at any rate we soon began to organize a Camp Library 
upon the substantial basis of novels and magazines. And then, 
after a few sing-songs had been held in one or two barracks, with 
a lurking fear that they might be suppressed by the military 
authorities, a regular concert was organized in Barrack VI by 
a young and energetic conductor. There were several excellent 
professional musicians in the Camp, and scores of amateurs too, 
but it took time before the idea of an orchestra in a prisoners' 
camp matured, and the maturing was due to Mr. F. Charles 
Adler. It is doubtful if a concert of such excellence had ever 
before been held in a stable-passage, and Mr. Carl Fuchs, the 



78 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

star of the evening, must have recalled the vision of a domed 
and crowded hall as he rendered the concerto that evoked rap- 
tures of applause from the throng of fellow-prisoners, making 
the rafters ring again. The platform consisted of two floor- 
boards from neighbouring horse-boxes placed on a couple of 
benches, and the violinists even had music stands. The Acting 
Commandant, Baron von Taube, who was present, was so pleased 
with the performance that he gave permission for concerts to be 
regularly held in the Grand Stand Hall, which, in peace times, 
was used as a refreshment-room for the race-course frequenters. 

Henceforth the Hall became the centre of all our public life. 
Before even the first concert was given there, several weekly 
debates had taken place upon controversial topics in a smoky 
atmosphere, and the crowded audiences voted conscientiously 
upon the motion that was always put at the end by the chair- 
man. Throughout the week, and especially in the morning, the 
hall was thronged and presented a scene of babel and pande- 
monium, for it was the only covered place, apart from our 
barracks, in which we could take shelter. There men sat on 
backless benches and smoked and read, or played chess or 
draughts, or taught one another foreign languages. On one side 
was a movable barber's shop with waiting customers, and near 
by sat a couple of cobblers plying their trade, whilst lower down 
was a tailor squatting on a table. On the other side was the 
Library, arranged in shelves, and diligently looked after by 
amateur librarians ; while close to it was a carpenter making 
tables and benches, and hammering big nails that made the lofty 
roof resound. But despite the chaos and babel the conductor, 
perched on a wooden box, rehearsed with his orchestra the next 
Sunday's concert and raised his voice above all the din ; whilst 
at the other end were gathered together a number of university 
men, deliberating upon the formation of an " Arts and Science 
Union," which would organize lectures and secure studying 
facilities ; all heedless of which some acrobats practised their 
evolutions in the air and came down upon the floor-board with 
a resounding bang. 

The year closed upon a gloomy Christmas, which the uneat- 
able currant cake, the stick of toffee, and the bottle of sour beer 
— intended to cheer us — made us look at all the more askance. 
Our fellow-prisoners of German upbringing and pro-German 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 79 

sympathies, of whom there were a few hundred, made a pretence 
of festivities, hung festoons of coloured paper in their boxes, and 
even had diminutive Christmas trees ; but for the Camp as a 
whole it was a day of melancholy, and men wished one another 
" A Happy Christmas ! " with their tongue in their cheek. The 
festival was, indeed, formally celebrated with a remarkable 
production of Handel's Messiah in the packed hall, which 
was graced with the presence of the Commandant, Count von 
Schwerin, Baron von Taube and the Baroness, and other military 
officers. There was an enlarged orchestra, a choir of a hundred 
voices, and professional solo vocalists, and we were all thrilled 
by the powerful rendering of the " Hallelujah Chorus " ; so 
much so, indeed, that the Commandant literally choked with 
tears when, at the end, he offered up his thanks and said that 
that performance of the Messiah by prisoners of war was the 
most impressive that could be conceived. He felt constrained to 
apologize that a collective festivity with Christmas trees was not 
permitted by his superiors, and he hoped that the New Year 
would see us all in the enjoyment of peace and liberty. New 
Year's Day, however, saw something that threatened to develop 
into a riot. For a Scotsman, clad in a kilt, with an imitation 
sporran, marched out of his barrack with a bagpipe that he blew 
with zest, and on either side of him and behind him strode 
several friends with shouldered brooms and other martial tokens ; 
and as the procession, gathering in number, passed through 
Bond Street and debouched upon what was known as Trafalgar 
Square and came within view of the guard-room, a couple of 
guards were seized by the idea that this was monstrous conduct 
for prisoners on New Year's Day. They rushed out with their 
weapons, dispersed the procession, and compelled the Highlander 
to return to his barrack and resume his trousers. 

The winter of 1914-15 was punctuated by all sorts of annoy- 
ing and exasperating incidents. In the first place it was im- 
possible to get any hot water to make a cup of tea or bovril, 
except from the steam condense pipes, from which the flow was 
irregular and always ceased at six o'clock, and we had to rush 
about from barrack to barrack, trying to bribe the soldiers to 
sell us water they had boiled on their stoves — a procedure that 
was naturally forbidden by the military regulations. It was not 
until February, 1915, that a boiler-house was erected at the ex- 



80 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

pense of the Camp Fund for the sale of hot water at a nominal 
charge, the profits being added to the Camp Fund. Then there 
were frequent epidemics of diarrhoea at night in different bar- 
racks, owing partly to the Kommis bread made of bad potato- 
meal and partly to the uncertain origin of the "dinners" and 
; ' suppers." In their misguided attempts to discover the source 
of these epidemics, the military authorities made us parade four 
deep in front of our barracks for a bowl inspection, and the doctor, 
who could not possibly scrutinize each bowl carefully, contented 
himself with a cursory glance at a few in each barrack. The real 
source of the evil — the camp kitchen — seemed to have escaped 
the quest of the Commandant, though it was convincingly 
brought home to him one evening when the captains presented 
him with a bowl of soup containing worms and beetles. There 
were grim mutterings of discontent that evening, especially 
among the sailors, thus robbed of their scanty supper ; and the 
Commandant, admitting the gravity of the complaint, yet 
fearing there might be a riot, ordered the fire-bell to be sounded 
at a quarter to eight and sent us all to bed like so many scolded 
school-children. 

Another cause of vexation were the frequent parades or 
Appells that took place in all weathers, at uncertain times, and 
upon the most flimsy pretext. On not a single occasion did we 
hear anything pleasant at these parades : they all seemed to be 
arranged for our annoyance. Time and again we had to line 
up with all our military impedimenta — straw- sacks, blankets, 
towels, chairs, etc.— which had to be counted and checked by 
the Furier, or stores clerk, who was conscientious and incom- 
petent, and kept us standing about for an hour or two, despite 
a bleak wind or chilling drizzle. On one of these parades a sort 
of statistical inquiry was carried out, with regard to our birth- 
place, age, religion, occupation, and with a view to determine 
whether we were English pure and simple, or Welsh, Scotch, 
Irish, or Colonials. All these data could easily have been col- 
lected from the entrance slips we had filled in, yet we were kept 
standing for an hour and a half in the cold and wet until it grew 
dark, and our captains admitted that no reliance could be placed 
upon the figures they had obtained. 

There were also three unpleasant episodes that produced more 
than an evanescent impression. The first arose from the act of 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 81 

a tale-bearing pro-German, who reported to the Acting Com- 
mandant that he had overheard one sailor speak to another of 
"those bloody Germans." Baron von Taube, who was notori- 
ously ignorant of English, understood the sanguinary adjective — 
one of the commonest words in the Ruhleben vocabulary — to 
mean " blood-thirsty," and at once his Prussian pride was 
stung. The firebell was rung, we lined up as usual, and the 
Baron rushed from barrack to barrack, delivering the self- 
same indignant and fatuous speech. " You call us blutige 
Deutsche / " he said, " I throw the word back at you. You are 
blutige Engldnder ! It's you who wanted the war. Aber unserc 
Sache, Gott sel dank, steht noch gldnzend ! " (But our cause, 
thank God, is still going splendidly !) We could hardly suppress 
a smile at this infantile outburst, and not even the threat of 
unknown punishment that he held over our heads could prevent 
as from enjoying the humour of the situation. But a few hours 
later, when the Baron's choler had cooled, he was enlightened 
on the etymology of " bloody " by Professor F. Sefton Delmer, 
the English lecturer at the Berlin University, who gave him a 
private discourse on " by'r Lady," with quotations from Eliza- 
bethan writers, until the Baron realised — though he did not 
acknowledge — what a fool he had made of himself. 

The next episode was one that was supposed to have had 
political significance. A huge flagstaff was fixed in the centre of 
the compound, right opposite the main entrance, so that all 
German victories and fete days might be worthily celebrated in 
the midst of the enemy — an index of the tolerance and delicacy 
of feeling of our Teuton guardians. The first occasion on which 
the flag was unfurled was the eve of January 27th, the Kaiser's 
birthday, but early the following morning, lo and behold ! — the 
cord was cut and the flag was lying in the mud. At once there 
was a hue and cry, as though the Kaiser's throne had been 
bespattered, and the military authorities thirsted for the blood 
of the rebellious prisoner who had committed the deed. For, 
that the culprit was an Englishman, there could not be the 
least doubt in the mind of a loyal German, though there was not 
the least proof. And so we were ordered to be confined to our 
barracks until the sinner confessed. Nobody was allowed to 
leave except to go to the latrines, which became uncomfortably 
crowded, and armed guards patrolled the pestilential rendezvous 
6 



82 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

to prevent us from smoking. Our captains, however, with a 
shrewd suspicion that the culprit was a German soldier who had 
threatened to make things unpleasant for them, did not rest 
until they secured the reduction of the sentence to twenty-four 
hours, irrespective of a confession ; but it was not until the 
captains presented a written statement in the name of the 
Camp, repudiating the insult done to the German flag, that this 
concession was granted. 

The third disciplinary affair had more tangible consequences. 
We were lined up one morning and regaled with a story about 
prisoners having smuggled letters out of the Camp, and we were 
told that if those who had indulged in the practice confessed they 
would only be lightly punished, but that if no confessions were 
forthcoming the whole Camp would be punished. And in order 
to act as a spurt to the offenders, we were also told that their 
names were known. The threat proved futile, and so the whole 
Camp was sentenced to a Briefsperre (suspension of post) for 
ten days. Throughout this period we could neither dispatch 
nor receive any letter, though before the punishment was enforced 
we were allowed to send off a card to our relations simply stating 
that we were well and would not be able to write again for ten 
days. The real motive of this punishment, however, was com- 
monly believed to be not punitive but utilitarian, as the censors 
had accumulated stacks of correspondence, and it had been 
decided that all communications for abroad should be delayed 
ten days. 

A certain development had been meanwhile taking place in 
the external appearance, both structural and personal, of our 
community. The eleven stables and the Tea House soon proved 
inadequate for the accommodation of Germany's band of British 
civilian prisoners, so that two large wooden barracks, with water- 
proof roofs, were added, and as they were being built some of us 
optimistically surmised that they were intended for recreation 
purposes. We were always eager to interpret changes that were 
going on around us in a favourable sense, and when we saw a six- 
foot wire fence, barbed on the top, fixed along a ten-foot wall, 
we made sure that this precaution heralded the conversion of 
Ruhleben into a military prisoners' camp — and our own release. 
But our predictions were falsified by the arrival of fresh batches 
of prisoners from the camps of Senne, Celle, and Munster, from 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 83 

the Berlin prisons, Stadtvogtei and Ploetzensee, and from various 
towns in Belgium and Northern France. Those who came from 
other camps presented a pathetic spectacle of dejection and bore 
conspicuous marks of identification. They had a large letter Z 
standing for Zivilgefangener (civil prisoner), painted indelibly 
in green or red on their coat-sleeve ; and many of them also 
had a triangular red or yellow patch sewn on the back of their 
coat, and a long stripe of similar colour down the leg of their 
trousers, but neither patch nor stripe could be removed as they 
simply replaced corresponding pieces of cloth that had been 
removed from their garments. Some of them had been prisoners 
since the outbreak of war ; others, including fishermen captured 
on trawlers in the North Sea, had been made prisoners later ; 
but all were profuse in their abhorrence of the privations and 
punishments they had undergone and in their praise of the ' ' com- 
forts" of Ruhleben. And when the men from Senne told us 
how, for the first few weeks, they had to sleep in mud-huts made 
with their own hands ; and those from Celle how, for some 
petty offence, they were tied to a tree while standing on a brick, 
which was then removed ; and those from Munster, how they 
were exposed to the caprices of brutal soldiers, who would shoot 
at the slightest pretext ; we realized to our horror that there 
were worse places than Ruhleben. The men from Belgium told 
us that notices had been posted in the different towns, calling 
upon the Englishmen to report themselves to the police, and 
promising that nothing would happen to them if they complied ; 
but after they had reported themselves and paid a few subsequent 
visits to the police they were one day arrested, imprisoned in a 
local jail, and then transported to Berlin. One big batch of 
new prisoners, about two hundred altogether, consisted of British 
coloured subjects — natives of West Africa, Aden, and the West 
Indies — who made Barrack XIII hum the whole day long with 
their boyish chatter and their banjo-strumming. 

We had not only arrivals but also departures, for some seventy 
Russians and thirty Frenchmen who had been in our Camp 
from the very beginning were transferred before Christmas to 
their compatriots in the Holzminden Camp. Moreover, natural- 
ised British subjects who (like Mr. Carl Fuchs) had been born in 
Germany, had discharged their military duties, and were over 
forty-five were released, though not allowed to leave the country. 



84 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

And Colonials who had been interned inadvertently on the day 
of general internment, and who produced papers in proof of their 
colonial origin, were, after weeks of official inquiries and negotia- 
tions, also released. But when, in the middle of February, 1915, 
the order for internment of British Colonial subjects was issued, 
the released men were brought back again, together with many 
who had remained at liberty all the time, and they were quartered 
in two further new wooden barracks, XIV and XV, built near the 
Tea House. The inmates of these two barracks were provided 
with a separate wash-house, which stood between them ; whereas 
those in Barracks XII and XIII had to wash and get water in 
the stables nearest to them. 

In addition to these goings and comings there were many men 
who, for various weighty reasons, personal or professional, 
secured a furlough from a day to a month, and who, upon their 
return, were besieged with inquiries as to what things were like 
outside. The favourite device for obtaining a day's furlough 
was to induce a friend or relative to issue a summons against one 
for some debt, real or fictitious ; and when the prisoner under 
military escort appeared in court the prosecutor was absent ; 
and thus an adjournment was attained, which meant another 
complete day's furlough. But when the military authorities dis- 
covered the trick they granted a prisoner only just sufficient 
time to attend the hearing, and the magistrate marked the time 
of its conclusion on the prisoner's paper, so that gradually the 
trick was dropped. The most remarkable episode connected 
with the granting of furloughs was that which concerned some 
bank clerks. The German Government, having received com- 
plaints from some Hamburg banks about the shortage of clerks, 
and having ascertained that German bank clerks were at liberty 
in England, released eighteen bank clerks from Ruhleben and 
allowed them to return to Hamburg. But on the train journey 
the released prisoners apparently gave vent to their joy too 
exuberantly and actually drank champagne and spoke English 
in the dining-car ; whereupon there were cries of consternation 
and indignation that were subsequently echoed throughout the 
German press. The Government had no peace until a few weeks 
later it again arrested the clerks, who returned to Ruhleben 
sadder and wiser men. 

It was a red-letter day in the history of the Camp when, in 




THE "POND" STORE 




HE PARADE IN WINTER 



■ 



', 






EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 85 

March, 1915, the American Ambassador, arriving in his private 
motor-car, paid his first visit to our community. Welcomed by 
the Commandant, he was ushered into the Captains' Office, 
where, in the presence of the military officers, some of the cap- 
tains and representatives of the prisoners laid before him various 
specific grievances for consideration. These included the un- 
healthy over-crowding in the stables, the disgusting latrines, the 
badly equipped hospital, the internment of the invalids from 
Homburg and Nauheim, the unwarranted detention of the 
merchant seamen, and the prohibition of visits from female 
relatives. The Ambassador paid a visit to a " bog," but a mere 
glimpse from the entrance and an inevitable whiff were sufficient. 
He also clambered up the staircase to the loft of Barrack VI, 
accompanied by the Commandant, and a mere glance and a 
sniff of the fetid atmosphere made him recoil with an angry 
shudder. " This is terrible ! " he said to Count von Schwerin, 
not venturing beyond the threshold. Throughout the Ambassa- 
dor's stay a huge crowd assembled round his motor-car, dis- 
cussing the great event, upon which high hopes were placed. 
One man wrote with his finger upon the mud with which the back 
of the car was bespattered : " We want bread ! " and when a 
German guard, learning the purport of the inscription, attempted 
to efface it with his forage cap he was hustled aside by the 
chauffeur to our great amusement. Other men scribbled notes 
which they threw into the car as it left with the Ambassador, 
and thus provided him with additional material for reflection on 
his homeward journey. 

A few days later we received a visit from some representatives 
of the Berlin Kommandantur , doubtless as a result of the com- 
municated impressions of the Ambassador. The visitors included 
General von Kessel, the Commander-in-Chief and virtual dictator 
of the Mark of Brandenburg, a stalwart septuagenarian as straight 
as a poplar, with a red collar that seemed six inches high. It 
was an ideal morning for an official inspection, as the rain had 
fallen throughout the night, and pools, ponds, and floods had 
formed in various parts of the Camp. The largest pond, as usual, 
was that around the Pond Stores, which was quite marooned, 
and which had to be approached by would-be purchasers, with 
some risk of a ducking, along a plank stretching from the shore 
to a barrel, from which another plank provided the retreat to the 



86 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

opposite bank. The size of the pond was about 130 feet long and 
25 feet wide, and its depth ranged from 6 to 30 inches — an 
eloquent testimony to the deficiency of the drains. The German 
woman in charge of the store had to rise above the flood by 
standing on a box, but the swelling tide caused her to cease 
business unusually early. A wag had chalked upon the store : 
' Mixed bathing not allowed," and another prisoner fixed a pole 
into the muddy soil, bearing a cardboard inscription : " Good 
fishing here." And as the military visitors passed this scene 
they saw a prisoner in top-boots, oil-skin, and sou-wester, 
angling in the water and pulling out a dripping clog. The stern 
features of the military relaxed, and one of them remarked : 
' Die Engldnder haben Humor " (The Englishmen have humour). 
We afterwards heard that General von Kessel was satisfied with 
the captains' administration of the Camp, and as a mark of 
appreciation he promised to secure us the use of one-half of the 
race-course for sports. But when the concession came into 
force several weeks later, it was at a cost to the British Govern- 
ment of £10 a month ! 

The latter half of winter and the early spring were also 
marked by some interesting entertainments in the Grand Stand 
Hall. The first was a traditional " Burns Nicht," comprising 
Scotch songs, readings from the poet, an address on Burns, 
orchestral contributions, bagpipe selections, and a sword dance 
by a Highlander in costume. The crowded assembly was roused 
to a high pitch of enthusiasm by the programme so full of home 
associations ; but the gem of the evening came at the end when 
the Baron, who was present with his wife, expressed his thanks 
for the pleasant and instructive programme and concluded with 
the cry: " Hoch die Schotten!" (Long live the Scots!)— as 
though the Scots, forsooth, were an anti-British nationality. 
This peculiar misconception of the relation of the Scots to 
England was also reflected in the case of the Irish, though per- 
haps here with a little more justification. One day early in 
March all Irishmen were requested to go to the Captains' Office, 
but as suspicion was at once aroused about the object of the 
request hardly more than a dozen presented themselves. We 
never heard exactly what happened in the office, as the Irishmen 
who attended declared they were sworn to secrecy. All that we 
learned was that some nameless visitor addressed them in English. 



1 



EVENTS OF THE FIRST WINTER 87 

I knew that Roger Casement was then in Berlin, but I could not 
discover whether he, or a deputy of his, was the visitor. Shortly 
afterwards, however, a few Irishmen were suddenly released, 
and we irresistibly associated this event with the mysterious 
meeting. 

As the long inclement winter gradually drew to a close our 
Dramatic Society, which for weeks had been rehearsing Bernard 
Shaw's Androcles and the Lion in a dilapidated shed, at last 
ventured to present its efforts in the Grand Stand Hall on a 
stage that had been developed by cunning carpenters out of a 
refreshment buffet, and that was properly equipped with foot- 
lights and curtains. A crowded and sympathetic audience 
declared the performance, especially of the women's parts, a 
brilliant success, and the production, which was well staged 
and costumed, had a three nights' run. Shortly afterwards we 
were regaled with the first Ruhleben " revue," entitled Legs and 
the Woman, which satirized various features and personalities 
of our Camp in a good-humoured spirit, but rather disappointed 
the luscious visions that some hot-blooded youths had formed. 
And then came our Mock Trial, written in collaboration by Mr. 
H. F. Hamlyn and myself, and which consisted of a breach of 
promise case, " Finnick v. Popplewell," in which the Hon. 
Horatio Popplewell (Mr. J. H. Pike), a returned prisoner from 
Ruhleben, was sued by Miss Aramintha Finnick (Mr. C. G. 
Rayner) for heavy damages. The trial was held at the " Muddle- 
sex " Assize Courts by Mr. Justice Dearly (Mr. H. Boss), but 
despite the diverting evidence of the plaintiff's uncle, Colonel 
John Cain-Pepper, d.s.o. (Mr. Alex Boss), of the defendant's 
landlady, Mrs. Jenny Bottle (Mr. Reuben Castang), and of 
others, and the vigorous speeches of the opposing leading counsel, 
Sir Edwin Parson, K.c, and Sir Isaac Bluefuss, K.c. (my col- 
laborator and myself), the Judge summed up in an original 
speech, in which he roundly abused counsel, witnesses, and 
jury, offered his own heart and fortune to the injured lady, and 
danced with her across the stage to the gladdening strains of the 
Wedding March. Thus did the first winter of our discontent 
close with a glorious note of merriment of our own creation. 



CHAPTER X 

IN PRISON AGAIN 

Circumventing the Censor — A painful cross-examination — En route for 
" Stadtvogtei " — Vigilance at Spandau Station — Glimpses of gaiety — Truants 
and sweethearts — The building in Dircksen Strasse — A cell for four — Ordering 
food — A cosmopolitan jail- — A persecuted Russian — Convict and warrior- 
Allied fellow-sufferers — Under suspicion of espionage — A Boer giant— Solitary 
conlinement — The convicts' parade — Polish labourers — English and American 
arrivals — A Serbian's smoke — Attempted suicide — An official visitor — A m} r s- 
terious Rumanian — A midnight party — The Aerschot outrages — Humane 
warders — Military regime — A journalist prisoner- — Back to Ruhleben. 

THE first great sensational incident that occurred at 
Ruhleben Camp since its establishment was the deporta- 
tion on March 30, 1915, of thirteen prisoners to the 
" Stadvogtei" Jail in Berlin — ten on account of smuggling letters 
out, and the other three on account of unlawfully absenting 
themselves overnight from the Camp. By what I may now 
regard as a singular stroke of good fortune I was among the 
first category of offenders, and was thus able to enrich my 
experiences as a prisoner of war at little extra cost and with 
comparatively little inconvenience. 

The military authorities had long suspected that the Censor 
was being circumvented, but they had no incriminating proof 
in their hands until a letter that had been smuggled out of the 
Camp was treacherously forwarded to the Commandant. The 
latter summoned the writer and extracted the confession that 
the smuggling had been done for him by a fellow-prisoner, S. 
Thereupon S. was summoned, and threatened and brow-beaten, 
until he divulged the names of all the others for whom he had 
spirited letters out of the Camp. Each of those thus betrayed 
was called separately into the military administration office, 
and was examined by a court consisting of Count von Schwerin, 
Baron von Taube, Rittmeister von Miiller, and the truculent 
' Calculating Councillor " Gliesch. Never shall I forget the 

88 



IN PRISON AGAIN 89 

brief but painful cross-examination to which I was subjected 
by this court. 

The " Calculating Councillor," standing at his desk, addressed 
the questions to me, whilst the other three officers were seated. 
He began by declaring that he knew all I had done and merely 
required a confirmation of it. I admitted that I had had a letter 
of no military consequence smuggled out, but the " Calculating 
Councillor " was not content with this. He snarled at me and 
threatened that if I did not tell the whole truth I would be 
imprisoned in a military fortress until the end of the war. But 
I stuck to my guns and was dismissed with a frown. The same 
ordeal was undergone by the other smugglers, though the offence 
of one or two was considered to be of deeper dye, as some soldiers 
were implicated. The iniquitous soldiers had been ferreted out 
independently by the authorities, and we afterwards learned 
that they were sentenced to periods of punishment ranging from 
ten to fourteen days' strict arrest. 

On the morning after our cross-examination we were called 
to the office again, and each of us in turn signed the protocol of 
his particular declaration. It was such a business-like procedure 
that I almost lulled myself into the belief that all was well, and 
that the imposing apparatus of a military court was created 
simply to strike terror into our breasts and to frighten us and all 
the other undiscovered smugglers from continuing our knavish 
tricks. Moreover, the sensation aroused by the escape on the 
previous night of three prisoners who voluntarily returned in the 
morning made our own misdeed appear to us the veriest trifle, 
and we innocently thought that it would divert the attention of 
the authorities from us. But early in the evening we were 
suddenly shaken out of our delusions, for the order went forth 
that we were to pack our things immediately and get ready to 
be deported. 

The head-guard of my barrack raged and bellowed as he had 
never before done within our ken, for he had the questionable 
distinction of harbouring most of the smugglers under his own 
roof. Nobody knew to what place we were going to be taken 
or for how long, and all sorts of contrary instructions about our 
travelling arrangements flitted about. Faced by an uncertain 
fate, I determined to make the best of the situation by filling 
my handbag with books, paper, underlinen, toilet requisites and 



90 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

eatables, all jumbled together, and by packing up a blanket and 
pillow. As we passed, heavily laden, out of the barrack, we filed 
through a lane of our friends, who showered upon us their good 
wishes and bade us be of hearty cheer ; and as we tramped 
across the compound and made our way to the gate we found 
that a dense crowd of our fellow-prisoners had gathered together 
in order to see us off. The guard was called out to keep the crowd 
back, for the authorities feared a disturbance. Many friends 
called out " Au re voir ! " as I disappeared behind the wooden 
screen near the gate. 

At length the gate opened, and we answered to our names 
as we filed out — ten smugglers and three truants. We were 
escorted by our head-guard, who was a non-commissioned officer 
and in charge of the transport, and four privates, all helmeted 
and armed. We managed to secure a little cart, upon which we 
all threw our heavy luggage, and then we set out upon the march 
to Spandau Station. It was a mild evening, with a glorious 
sunset over the smoking chimneys of the arsenal town, and I 
stepped out briskly as I took my first long walk outside the 
Camp, and discussed with my comrades in distress the probable 
punishment that would be imposed upon us. Our guard told us 
that we were being taken to the " Stadtvogtei " Jail, but whether 
we were going to be formally tried or whether our sentence had 
already been decided — nothing was known. Our luggage kept 
tumbling off the little rickety cart, which was pulled by a German 
schoolboy, and two of our party walked on either side of it to 
prevent further mishaps. When we approached the station our 
head-guard warned us not to attempt to throw any letter into 
the letter-box, as a military patrol was on the look-out. The 
supposition that we letter-smugglers, on our way to jail, would 
attempt a repetition of the offence for which we had just been 
condemned, could only have been conceived by one who was 
in constant association with hardened criminals : and our head- 
guard, in private life, was a policeman. We thought it strange, 
too, that we had not been searched before we left the Camp. 

As we ascended the staircase to the platform our guards 
whispered to us " Kein Englisch sprechen ! " and when we saw 
the military officers parading up and down we appreciated the 
sense of the advice. One of the waiting-rooms had been turned 
into a Bahnhof-Wache (Station Guard-Room), and was apparently 



IN PRISON AGAIN 91 

used as a temporary lock-up for any suspicious characters. The 
military guards were distinguished by a white arm-band, and 
among the people waiting for a train I noticed several men who, 
by the sharp eye they kept upon everything around them, 
appeared to me to be detectives. All these signs of vigilance did 
not surprise us, for Spandau is a garrison town and an important 
centre for the manufacture of ammunition. Some members of our 
party, in an unguarded moment, bought the evening newspapers 
at the bookstall and thrust them into their pockets. 

We travelled all together in a large fourth-class compartment, 
which had seats only round the sides, so that several of us had 
to stand. Our journey, considering its destination, was not 
unpleasant, for our guards, now they were enjoying semi-privacy 
with us, relaxed from their military sternness and smoked and 
joked with us. As the train passed through Charlottenburg and 
we caught fleeting glimpses of the brightly illuminated beer- 
restaurants and cafes in the Kurfurstendamm one of our guards, 
who had evidently enjoyed life, remarked : "I should like to 
be guzzling over there to-night." And as we sped across the 
famous Tiergarten — its broad avenues lit up with great arc- 
lights, and lovers nestling in the shades of its trees — our head- 
guard was confidential and told us of an amorous adventure he 
had had there some years ago with an actress's daughter. " Sie 
war bildhubsch ! " he emphasised, with a self-congratulatory 
gesture. Whereupon the three truants, men of about thirty, 
who were natives of Germany but had derived British citizenship 
from their naturalized fathers, confessed that they had escaped 
the previous night only to visit their lonely sweethearts who had 
written them such passionate letters. They had climbed over 
the barbed wire fence with little damage on the way out, but 
on climbing back again early in the morning they were caught 
by the little watchman with his dog. One of them laughingly 
displayed as a damning piece of evidence the large menu of the 
Schultheiss beer-restaurant, where he had caroused with his 
beloved. At length we passed the brilliant lights of Friedrich 
Strasse, which seemed to be as gay as ever, and presently we 
alighted at the Alexander Platz station. Here our guards, 
especially the leader, again resumed their stern deportment, 
ordered us to line up in fours, and " Mar-r-sch ! " We attracted 
the curiosity of passers-by as we stumbled across the main 



92 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

thoroughfare with our bags and bundles, but we were soon 
hidden in the gloom of Dircksen Strasse and found ourselves at 
one of the portals of that immense and massive jail — Stadtvogtei 
Gefangnis. A night -warder admitted us, and our guards counted 
us as we passed into the charge room. " Dreizehn Stuck ! " said 
our head-guard, as though delivering so many head of cattle. 

" How long do we stay here ? " we asked the warder. 

He shrugged his shoulders. " Cannot say." 

Our guards called out, ' Gute Nacht ! " and " Auf Wieder- 
sehen ! " and departed. 

For the third time within seven months I was tramping up 
the stone steps of this self-same jail, and I almost felt like an 
incorrigible criminal. The warder led us along a corridor and 
began unlocking single cells. " Eine Gemeinschaftszelle, bitte I ' 
I whispered to him complaisantly. My suggestion was realized. 
Three of my comrades and myself were put into a large electric- 
lighted cell with four beds, whilst the rest of the party were all 
locked up in small single cells. I looked around my new abode. 
It was an exact replica of the cell I had occupied in the previous 
September, with a long table and two benches, four little racks 
with a mug, and wash-basin, and a water-tap. We were given 
half an hour to get ready for bed, so we made a hasty supper of 
some of the food we had brought with us, and by half-past nine — 
when the light was switched off by the warder from without — the 
four of us were in our beds, discussing the events of the day and 
speculating upon those to come. 

At half-past six the following morning our door was unlocked 
and unbolted with a resounding click, and half an hour later 
two Polish convicts in dirty blue linen suits brought in a pail of 
steaming coffee, which they poured into the white mugs with 
which we were each supplied. But the decoction was undrink- 
able, and I did not swallow more than a couple of spoonfuls. 
Our door was left open by the warder, and we soon received 
visits from our fellow-prisoners, who bewailed their solitary 
confinement and proposed to use our large cell as a common 
room. The warder raised no objection to our doing this during 
the day, but said that at six o'clock we must all be locked up 
again in our respective cells. 

The regime was very much the same as on my first visit. 
A special warder came round to consult our wishes, and we 



IN PRISON AGAIN 93 

ordered a varied stock of articles, including a little spirit stove 
and a bottle of methylated spirits to boil water, as well as writing- 
paper and newspapers. As there were several Jews in our party, 
and it was the Passover Week, the warder telephoned to the 
Jewish Soup Kitchen to supply us with meals. And after we 
had discharged these various preliminaries, we walked down 
into the courtyard for our morning's exercise, and made the 
acquaintance of the other guests. 

The " Stadtvogtei" Jail is one of the most interesting prisons 
in Germany, as it contains political suspects of all nations and 
tongues and serves as a sort of clearing-house for civilian prisoners. 
During my third sojourn within its walls I met Germans and 
Austrians, Englishmen and Frenchmen, Russians and Poles, 
Belgians and Serbians, a Boer, an American, a Rumanian, and 
a company of Hindu soldiers in mufti. All with whom I was able 
to come into contact had a different tale to tell, but they all had 
one element in common : they were considered a danger to the 
German State, and thus they fraternized with one another. One 
of the Germans was a beer-bellied innkeeper who had kept his 
Kneipe open after one in the morning, and was thrust into 
prison without trial and without knowing his sentence ; but 
after three weeks, during which he consumed endless cigars, he 
was released. The other German was a saturnine Socialist, who 
had been betrayed by his wife as an anti war propagandist, and 
who candidly declared that she had played him this trick in 
order that she might enjoy undisturbed the embraces of her 
Danish lover. There were two Austrians, natives of Galicia, 
who had volunteered for the Austrian army, but who were 
regarded by the authorities as Russians because of their Russian 
parentage, although they were strangers both to Russia and her 
language. Soon after our arrival these Austro-Russians were 
transferred to a Russian camp. 

Another Russian, a young man of education, who aroused 
our profound sympathy, was the son of the Russian Consul at 
X. He had been in solitary confinement for six months in 
another prison, where he had been subjected to the vilest treat- 
ment. For many months he had been unable to send off any 
letters. He had scarcely finished his story when a warder came 
to tell him that he must pack up, as he was to be transported 
to a camp many miles away. 



94 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Our first two days were passed in tolerable fashion. Our 
cells were left open until six o'clock, and we could talk to one 
another and go down into the courtyard whenever we wished, 
though we all gave a wide berth to S., who, we feared, might be 
acting as a spy against us. We made our own coffee in the 
morning and evening, and we received two good meals a day 
from the Jewish Soup Kitchen, together with a liberal supply of 
unleavened bread. We made the German convict who cleaned 
our cell every morning (his technical title was Kalfaktor) 
our devoted and grateful servant by presenting him with the 
chunks of brown bread which we did not need. He had already 
fought for the Fatherland on the Eastern front and had been 
through all the rigours of the first winter campaign. He was 
sent back home wounded, and when he recovered he was found 
unfit for further service and began begging, with the result that 
he was sent to prison. 

" But I would much rather be here than at the front," he 
said, as he mopped the floor. " There, in the trenches, you get 
the water up to your neck. Here it does not reach even above 
my feet. And, besides, here I'm sure I'll at least survive diesen 
verdammten Krieg ! ' ' 

Our large cell became a sort of club-room during the day, 
and card-playing was the most popular pastime. Orthodox 
games such as whist and solo were eschewed, as we were in 
prison, preference being given to the more exciting and hazardous 
games, poker, faro, and the like. We were joined by some 
Belgians, a Frenchman, and a Russian, who lived in a large cell 
in the same corridor, and who were glad of the distraction pro- 
vided by our company. One of the Belgians was a poet, who 
paced the corridor with solemn mien and excogitated verses in 
the style of Baudelaire upon his confinement, which he recited 
to us while beating the air in time with the rhythm. Another 
was a vivacious musician, who had been invited from Belgium 
to join the orchestra of the Berlin opera, and whose only crime 
was that he had been out of doors one evening after eight o'clock. 

Two other men, with highly strung nerves, were suspected 
of espionage. One of them had been arrested at home in the 
bosom of his family by detectives, who made a thorough search 
of his dwelling for incriminating evidence, and even tore down 
the wall-paper, though in vain. I learned the names of two men 



IN PRISON AGAIN 95 

who were acting as spies in the Ruhleben Camp : one of them 
had previously been known in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg as a 
common Groschen-Spitzel (" penny " police-spy) ; the other was 
of bastard birth. Upon my return to Ruhleben I immediately 
warned my fellow-prisoners of these two dangerous characters, 
though one of them had long been suspected and shunned. 

One of the most curious men I met was a Boer giant, who 
was seven feet and a half tall, and whose feet always hung out 
over his bed. He had been the chief of President Kruger's body- 
guard, and had been taken prisoner in the South African War 
and interned for eighteen months in Ceylon. He still retained 
the military permit entitling him to leave the Camp every 
evening to make purchases in the town. There he made the 
acquaintance of a shopkeeper's daughter, whom he married, 
and who died after giving birth to a child. During the last 
twelve years he had passed through various fortunes and tribula- 
tions, which were recorded and pictured in the interesting 
album, full of pictorial postcards and official declarations, which 
he showed me. Latterly he had toured through Austria and 
Germany as an Indian giant waiter at country beer-restaurants, 
where he served mugs of beer and sold signed photographs of 
himself. This imposing son of Anak had the heart — and almost 
the mind — of a child, and he asked me to read for him the letters 
he received from his German sweetheart in Berlin. 

We were all merrily occupied on the second afternoon after 
our arrival when the warder suddenly entered and announced 
that a strict order had just come from the Kommandantur . 
We were to leave the large cell and were all to be placed in single 
cells, and we were to have only an hour's exercise in the morn- 
ing and another hour in the afternoon. Our family party was 
quickly broken up ; we divided our joint possessions ; and 
were assigned to small cells of thirteen cubic metres, in the same 
corridor. My cell was exactly like that in which I had spent 
a few hours on the day of general internment. Now, we thought, 
as we were placed in solitary confinement, our punishment is 
beginning, and we wondered how long it would continue ; but 
our warders could give us no enlightenment. Despite our separa- 
tion we could still communicate with one another, not only by 
knocking at the intervening wall, but also by speaking. We 
threw our voice upward through the air-hole above the door, 



96 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

and the sound rebounded from the wall through the air-hole of 
the next cell. I retained the little spirit stove, and in the even- 
ing made some cocoa for two of my neighbours. When it was 
ready I pushed out the little metal flag, whereupon the warder, 
upon his next round, opened my cell and likewise those of my 
friends, whom I was thus able to serve with part of their supper. 
The rest of the evening I spent in reading Henri Lichtenberger's 
Evolution of Modem Germany, and when I retired I had to re- 
move everything from the table on to a stool, fasten up the table 
against the wall to which it was hinged, and thus make room 
for the bed which I unchained from the opposite wall, to which 
it was secured. The bed had a spring mattress and I slept 
soundly. 

I was awakened in the morning by a steady tramp in the 
courtyard below. I climbed up to the window and looked down 
upon two dozen decrepit old men, in shabby blue linen suits, 
walking in single file and dragging their feet wearily behind them. 
There were two or three grey-bearded sinners who could not 
even keep pace with them and " ploughed their lonely furrow." 
When the warder opened my cell I commented upon the absence 
of young men from the yard, and he replied with a knowing look : 
" Kein W under. Die sind alle an der Front!" Presently we 
were conducted downstairs for a warm douche, and I found 
there a number of young Polish labourers who, I was told, were 
going to be sent to work on some farms. 

According to the new instructions the penitents from Ruhleben 
were to be strictly secluded from all the other prisoners, and we 
also had our exercise apart from the rest. For two or three days 
the rule was strictly enforced, but now and again the warders 
permitted us to enjoy the forbidden company of our fellow- 
prisoners not only by day but occasionally by night. Not all the 
warders were so amiable, however ; one of them was an unscrupu- 
lous martinet, who was feared even by his colleagues, and whose 
voice, when he raged, re-echoed throughout the entire building. 
Almost every day brought some new face into our narrow world. 
One day it was a tall Englishman with upturned black moustache, 
who had been brought all the way from Lodz, together with a 
Russian aviation officer, from whom he was parted in Berlin. 
He gave us a vivid account of the successive captures of Lodz 
by the Germans, and of the condition in which he left it on 



IN PRISON AGAIN 97 

April 1st, 1915. (This prisoner, who was subsequently removed 
to Ruhleben, became a prey to melancholia on account of his 
inability to communicate with his wife at Lodz, and when he was 
conveyed, in January, 1916, with a batch of returned prisoners 
to England, he jumped from the steamer near Tilbury into the 
Thames and was drowned.) Another morning we made the 
acquaintance of an Englishman in a Norfolk suit, who had been 
arrested as a spy three months before at Luxembourg, taken to 
Trier, and tried there by court-martial and acquitted ; but 
when he applied to be taken back to Luxembourg he was brought 
to Berlin. Another visitor was a middle-aged American mer- 
chant, who appeared to be quite indifferent about his new abode, 
and who showed not the least anger when he was refused per- 
mission to telephone to the American Embassy. He had been 
arrested at his hotel in Unter den Linden for nothing more 
serious, apparently, than buying English and French newspapers 
at a kiosk. 

One Sunday morning was rather exciting. As we tramped 
about in the courtyard we saw a haggard-looking face between 
the bars of a window on the third floor, and presently a little 
crumpled note came flying to our feet. We opened it, and it 
contained the message in German : "A Serbian begs for a 
cigarette." We put a couple of cigarettes and a few matches 
into a match-box, wrapped the box up in paper, and one of us 
deftly threw it into the lonely Serbian's cell. The look of grati- 
tude on his face is one of the things I shall never forget. Scarcely 
was the incident over than we heard cries of " Aufseher ! ' 
(warder) from a corner window on the first floor, and the quick 
rush of feet along the corridor. We raced up the stairs as fast 
as we could and made for the cell from which the cries had come. 
A middle-aged Belgian, who had only been brought from Namur 
that morning, had attempted suicide with a razor in a water- 
closet, and his son, who was with him, was distraught with grief. 
The father was removed to the hospital on the top floor, and the 
son was taken by the other Belgians into their cell and soothed. 
After first aid had been rendered to the father, he was conveyed 
in a taxi to a military prisoners' hospital. 

Day after day passed without our receiving any tidings of 
the length of our sentence, or any intimation whether we were 
at present only under remand and our sentence was to begin 

7 



98 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

later. It was this uncertainty, and the ceaseless anxiety that it 
bred, that formed the most painful factor in our punishment. 
One morning, as I was sitting in my cell and reading, I heard 
some strangers talking to my neighbour. I at once surmised 
that there were official visitors. Presently my door was un- 
locked, and I saw the Governor of the prison with a burly and 
somewhat swarthy military officer of high rank. The latter, 
with some papers in his hand, asked me various personal particu- 
lars and the reason why I had smuggled out a letter. I replied 
that that was the only way to prevent our letters being " cen- 
sored " by our own barrack postmen before they were delivered 
to the military censor, and that I objected to such a mischievous 
and unnecessary practice. The officer made a note of my com- 
plaint and withdrew. I afterwards learned that he was a Kriegs- 
gerichtsrat (Court-Martial Councillor), whose duty it was to advise 
on breaches of regulations committed by prisoners of war, and 
that he had interviewed all my fellow offenders ; but none of us 
received from him any inkling as to the term of our punishment. 

The following day we welcomed a new visitor, a young 
Rumanian. He was tall, slim, and sleuth-like, and was at first 
very taciturn ; but afterwards he unbosomed himself as an 
engineering student who was wrongly suspected of espionage. 
He declared that he could secure his own acquittal within a few 
days, by writing a brief request to the Kommandantur to release 
him as it had no right to detain him ; and he offered to take 
bets on the outcome of his petition. Nobody cared to risk his 
money, as there was something mysterious about this Rumanian, 
which kept us upon our guard. He impressed us by his amazing 
skill at draughts and chess, but still more so by his skill at cards, 
for there was hardly a game in which he did not win. 

One evening we had a reunion in the Belgians' large cell. 
I was absorbed in a book when, to my surprise, my door was 
unlocked by the night warder, who beckoned me out, and his 
invitation was reinforced by one of my fellow prisoners. So I 
left my cell, the warder switched off the light, and I entered the 
cell of my friends lower down the corridor. I could scarce 
believe my eyes, for there was a convivial party of twelve prisoners 
in the cell. The warders retired, and as it was nine o'clock and 
they had switched off the light we stuck candles into the necks 
of some empty bottles. 



IN PRISON AGAIN 99 

Perched on one of the upper beds, I gazed down upon the 
strange scene and could hardly believe that I was in prison. 
I was vividly reminded of the prison scene in Meyerbeer's opera, 
Die Fledermaus. Four of the men, including the inscrutable 
Rumanian, were gambling at cards, and several were looking on. 
At the other end of the long table was a spirit stove, upon which 
one of the Belgians was frying Kartoffel Puffer, pancakes made 
of potato meal with oil, whilst a compatriot was rubbing potatoes 
on a grater to make the meal. The highly strung Frenchman 
delivered a speech on the situation in a mock-heroic vein, with 
his hand on his heart, and then danced a pas seul with the nimble- 
ness of a ballet-dancer. Beside me sat the Belgian poet, who 
was eager to know all about Ruhleben ; and after his curiosity 
was somewhat gratified, he made way for the musician, who 
told me the story of the outrages committed by the Germans at 
Aerschot. According to his account the trouble arose through 
a German officer attempting to violate the fourteen-year-old 
daughter of the Mayor in the latter's house : the girl's elder 
brother hastened to her cry and shot the officer dead, whereupon 
wholesale retribution was exacted from the inhabitants. 

Presently we were all eating hot potato-pancakes, which we 
washed down with steaming coffee, when the cell was opened by 
a fatherly-looking warder, who gravely shook his head and said 
that we must break up the party. But he soon melted and 
began discussing with me the treatment of criminal dipsomaniacs 
and indulged in various reminiscences of his official life. He left 
us with a warning that we really must be ready to leave at 
eleven, but when he returned at that hour with a colleague we 
were given a further respite until midnight. One of the warders 
confided to me that several warders of the prison who had gone 
to the front had already been killed, and he was thankful that 
his age saved him from a similar death. But he was strangely 
confident that Germany would win. 

At the stroke of twelve we parted with mutual handshakes, 
and I retired drowsy to my cell. The following afternoon, when 
we were drinking coffee and eating cake in the big cell, the 
Rumanian suddenly rushed in with the news that he was free, 
and he asked us whether he could discharge any messages for 
us. We exchanged significant glances with one another and 
declined the offer with thanks. We were afraid that we might 



100 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

fall into a trap, and in any case were not sure that any message 
would be fulfilled. So the mysterious young Rumanian departed, 
sixty marks the richer as a result of his gambling exploits, and 
we drew a breath of relief. 

We had all along been under the impression that our imprison- 
ment would only last fourteen days, so that when we woke on 
the fourteenth morning we looked forward hopefully to our 
transference to the Camp. But our hopes were dashed to the 
ground when the warder told us that we were all to be removed 
to cells on the topmost floor, as the management of this section 
of the prison was to be put by midday under military control. 
Before long the order was carried out. We dragged all our 
belongings up a few flights of stairs to the top floor ; we were 
locked into fresh cells ; and we were left ruminating upon the 
length of our punishment. I felt that our real sentence was only 
now just beginning, and feared that we might have to continue 
our stay another three or six months. 

When my cell was again opened about half-past one I saw 
a non-commissioned officer, who announced that we had two 
hours for exercise below. In the yard I found a large number 
of new arrivals, Russians, Poles, and Englishmen, most of whom 
had been brought from other prisons. Two of them were mere 
schoolboys who had been arrested that very morning, as it was 
their seventeenth birthday. The most curious character in the 
new batch was a tall man of about forty, who wore a silk hat and 
carried a silver-knobbed walking-stick. At first I thought he 
was a representative of the American Embassy, but in English 
with a strong Austrian accent he said : "It's all right. I'm one 
of you." He told me that he had first been in this prison in 
September, 1914 ; that, thanks to influential advocacy he was 
given twenty-four hours to leave the country, and that after 
a visit to London, he was back again within seven days as a 
correspondent for a London paper. He was soon arrested again, 
lodged in various prisons, and was now in what he believed to 
be his last place of detention until the end of the war. " For," 
said he, ''' no journalist is allowed to go to Ruhleben." He 
showed me his cell, and I thought it strange that he should have 
been assigned a cell with four beds for his sole occupancy. 

When our exercise was over and we returned to our cells we 
were told that all who had come from Ruhleben a fortnight ago 



IN PRISON AGAIN 101 

should get ready to be taken back. We actually rejoiced that 
we were going to Ruhleben again, for despite the interesting 
time we had spent the last two weeks we looked forward with 
horror to a prolonged stay in the " Stadtvogtei." We were escorted 
by seven policemen armed with revolvers ; travelled again by 
the Stadtbahn, which enabled us to get a good view of the streets 
and people of Berlin ; and on arrival at Spandau chartered a 
four-wheeler to convey our luggage to the Camp. At half-past 
seven, exactly fourteen days to the minute after our departure 
from Ruhleben, we exchanged friendly greetings there once 
more with our fellow-prisoners. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE PRO-GERMANS 

Varied origin of pro-Germans — Political friction — The Baron's warning — 
Deutschgesinnt and deutschfreundlich — Segregation — Comedy and tragedy — 
Recruiting for the Kaiser's army — Release of " P.G.'s " — Spying on correspond- 
ence — German types — New citizens for Germany. 

ONE of the most singular features of the community at 
Ruhleben consisted of the large number of prisoners 
who openly professed their sympathy for the German 
cause. Paradoxical as such an attitude might appear, it was 
susceptible of easy explanation. The pro-Germans were techni- 
cally all British subjects, but their ties with England were either 
so remote or so feeble that they did not predispose them in her 
favour even though they were suffering hardships as Germany's 
prisoners. For the most part, they were men who had been born 
and bred in Germany, who had acquired naturalisation after the 
minimum period of residence in England or one of her colonies, 
and who had then returned to the Fatherland. They also in- 
cluded the sons and even grandsons of such naturalised English- 
men : men who had inherited their English nationality, but 
who had never set foot on English soil and were utter strangers 
to the English tongue. Another section of the same category 
comprised men who had been born in England or in one of her 
colonies, but who had lived for the greater part of their lives in 
Germany, and therefore had very little in common with their 
native country ; whilst other sections of the pro-German fra- 
ternity comprised natives of Austria, German Switzerland, and 
Russia, who had likewise spent the major part of their lives in 
the land of the Kaiser. AU these various types of pro-German 
prisoners numbered at first from seven to eight hundred. 

Until the outbreak of the war these hybrid Englishmen had, 
for the most part, felt, thought, and spoken exactly like their 

1 02 



THE PRO-GERMANS 103 

German neighbours. Their material interests lay in Germany ; 
they were married to German wives ; and their children were 
educated in German schools and were undistinguishable from 
German children in manners, dress, appearance, and sentiments. 
The outbreak of war found them ardent champions of the Father- 
land ; they took part in patriotic demonstrations and contributed 
to patriotic funds. But when the order of internment was issued 
they were arrested exactly like all the Stock-Engldnder (" out- 
and-out " Englishmen), much to their indignation and to the 
surprise of their neighbours. They protested that it was absurd 
to intern them, as they could never dream of thinking — let alone 
doing — evil to the Fatherland. But the police bluntly reminded 
them that they had sheltered themselves all along under their 
British nationality in order to escape from military service ; 
and pointed out that if they were really concerned for the wel- 
fare of Germany they should draw the sword in her defence. 

At first the presence of these German-speaking Englishmen in 
our midst only aroused our curiosity, and occasionally even our 
sympathy, but when, in the course of inevitable discussion upon 
the causes of the war and its prospects, they unblushingly 
espoused the side of our captors they aroused our reproach and 
our resentment. They were distributed through all the barracks 
in the Camp, and were represented in hundreds of horse-boxes, 
whilst there was hardly a hay-loft without them and their voluble 
advocacy of German rights. The result was friction and dissen- 
sion ; and there was also a justified suspicion that any anti- 
German remarks that we uttered were reported to the authorities 
by the " P.G.'s," as the pro-Germans soon came to be called. 

One day, early in the spring of 1915, we were lined up in 
front of our barracks, and the Acting Commandant, with his 
inseparable cigar, strode from one barrack to the other and 
delivered the following speech : "I hear that two parties have 
been formed in this Camp, Englishmen and Germans, and that 
the Englishmen are constantly annoying and provoking the 
Germans. I am determined to suppress this state of enmity. 
If any interned is molested on account of his Germanism he 
should come to me at once for protection and his persecutor will 
be punished most severely." As the Baron von Taube stalked 
away self-satisfied, our head-guard snorted approval of this 
preposterous pronouncement. " I should just like to get hold 



104 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

of some of these Stock-Engldnder," he said, clenching his fist ; 
" I would teach them a lesson." 

To be deprived of liberty of movement by our internment 
was bad enough ; but to be deprived of liberty of speech behind 
the barbed wire fence was adding insult to injury. The Baron's 
proclamation did not conduce to an improvement of the situa- 
tion, so far as the " P.G.'s " were concerned, as henceforth a 
general boycott was instituted against them as the most effective 
means of preventing quarrels. The result was disappointing to 
the Baron, who had to report to the Kommandantur that his 
efforts to establish peaceable relations had failed. Thereupon 
a census of pro-Germans was officially held, in order that further 
measures might be devised. 

We were all lined up again in front of our barracks, and the 
Baron called upon those who were deutschgesinnt, that is, who 
felt like Germans, to step on one side, so that their names might 
be taken. Various groups ranging from twenty to a hundred 
stepped out of the ranks in front of each barrack, amid the stony 
silence of the rest of their fellow-prisoners ; and as soon as the 
lists were drawn up speculation became rife as to the practical 
outcome of this census. Our conjectures were somewhat confused 
by the fact that in addition to those who were deutschgesinnt, 
those who were only deutschfreundlich, or philo-German, were also 
called upon to declare themselves. The captains requested an 
official definition of these terms for the guidance of their barracks, 
whereupon the military authorities, after consultation with the 
Prussian War Office in Berlin, supplied written definitions which 
were read out to us at night, just before bedtime. We were told 
that deutschgesinnt meant one who was so thoroughly saturated 
with German thought and feeling, and who was so profoundly in 
sympathy with the cause of Germany, that he would not hesitate 
even at " the final sacrifice " on behalf of his conviction ; whereas 
deutschfreimdlich was one who, whatever his views on the politi- 
cal situation, still retained a feeling of admiration for German 
literature and Kultur. We were told, moreover, that no practi- 
cal consequence, either beneficial or otherwise, would result from 
one's declaration ; but we immediately dismissed this gratuitous 
monition as a bait, as we could not conceive why the authorities 
were taking all this trouble if no practical development were 
contemplated. The general rumour was that the avowed pro- 



THE PRO-GERMANS 105 

Germans would be favoured with frequent furloughs and even 
with early release, and this rumour was maintained despite all 
official denials. We thought it very strange, however, that we 
were not permitted to have a copy of the official definitions : 
they were simply read through to us in German and English 
by the captains, who were forbidden to make any copy of the 
military order and had to return it immediately to the authorities. 

The holding of such a political inquisition in a prisoners-of- 
war camp seemed to us monstrous, but we soon realised that 
there was method in the German madness. A few days after 
these preliminary investigations, on a Sunday morning in the 
middle of April, 1915, the alarm bell was struck, we lined up in 
front of our barracks, and we were informed that all the pro- 
Germans were to be segregated from the rest of the Camp. They 
were to be lodged in Stable 1, in the wooden Barracks XIV and 
XV, and in the " Tea-House," which was henceforth called the 
' Tee-Haus." All the prisoners in these four barracks who did 
not subscribe to the tenets of pro-Germanism had to pack up 
their belongings and seek a new home in the horse-boxes and hay- 
lofts vacated by the " P.G.'s," but they were not allowed to take 
their beds with them. On the other hand, the " P.G.'s " who 
moved into the wooden barracks, which had only a small supply 
of beds, were allowed to take theirs with them, so that their 
successors had to sleep on the floor for days and even weeks 
until they could buy beds of their own. 

The process of removal was a remarkable spectacle, which 
aroused merriment among those who were not affected but 
bitterness among those who had " to break up their happy 
home," as they quaintly put it. For over an hour there was 
a. straggling procession in two opposite directions of prisoners 
carrying all their goods and chattels — bedding, blankets, books, 
biscuit-tins, crockery, cutlery, clogs, etc. — desperately seeking 
a. new resting-place in congenial quarters ; whilst in their track 
there was a litter of stray book-leaves, newspaper fragments, odd 
socks, biscuit-crumbs, and fragments of dinner-bowls broken 
in transit. The order of removal was received that morning by 
telephone from the War Office, and it was in full course of execu- 
tion before the arrival of the Commandant, Count von Schwerin, 
whose look of amazement when he beheld the scene of removal 
was a study. It was rumoured (and on very good authority too, 



106 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

as I ascertained) that the segregation of the pro-Germans was 
determined upon by the War Office as the only means of staving 
off the contemplated removal of the Stock-Engldnder to the 
military camp at Doberitz, a few miles away. 

The transmigration was attended by some peculiar scenes, 
some comic, some verging on the tragic. Many a man who had 
previously avowed himself a pro-German recanted from fear that 
he would be lodged in less comfortable quarters, and proudly 
protested : " Ich bin ein Engldnder und bleibe ein Engldnder ! ' 
Many brothers parted company : some remained in the English 
barracks, others joined the " P.G.'s " There were also divisions 
between fathers and sons : some fathers, natives of England, 
had a difficulty in persuading their German-born sons to remain 
in the English barracks ; whilst, on the other hand, there were 
German-born sons who, during their short stay at Ruhleben, had 
already acquired such a liking for English ways and customs 
that they refused to follow their fathers, whose business interests 
made them " P.G.'s." The great bulk of the pro-Germans were 
not natives of England or her colonies ; the few who were justi- 
fied themselves to their friends on the grounds of their business, 
which, they maintained, would inevitably surfer if they did not 
declare that their sympathies were with Germany. 

The exchange of residences was carried out without a hitch, 
and when it was over the laugh was on the side of the Camj 
that had remained loyal to the British flag. For we were rid of 
the presence of tale-bearers, and the vision of favours and « 
privileges in which the pro-Germans had indulged soon proved 
to be a mere figment of the imagination. On the contrary, these 
sympathizers with the German cause were called upon in due 
course to put their convictions to the test. Whenever one of 
them applied for leave, the responsible officer, Lieutenant . 
Riidiger, would ask him : " What regiment would you like to 
join ? " The prisoner would pretend not to understand, or to be 
shocked at the suggestion that he should bear arms against the 
nation to which he belonged. But the officer left him no ground 
for misunderstanding. " Go and get examined by the Doctor," 
he would say, " and let me know what he says. We can then 
better discuss the question of your leave." 
| Constant pressure was thus brought to bear upon the inmates 
of the pro-German barracks to make them enlist in the Kaiser's 



THE PRO-GERMANS 107 

army, and instead of receiving favours they found themselves 
subjected to more rigorous treatment than their fellow-prisoners. 
Those who had sons were plainly told they could secure their own 
release by the enlistment of their sons. Some fathers preferred 
to continue in internment indefinitely rather than sacrifice their 
sons to what they regarded as certain death ; some sons resolved to 
purchase their father's liberation at the cost of their own loyalty 
and safety. Other prisoners gave way to the entreaties of their 
German wives or their widowed mothers, who saw ruin staring 
them in the face when the authorities began to throttle or wind 
up British businesses in different parts of the country. The 
process of coercion thus exercised in the interests of German 
recruiting was unsparingly denounced in the Reichstag by 
Socialist deputies, but without avail, as the military party did 
not care whence it obtained fodder for the cannon, and even 
regarded the Englanderlager as a legitimate hunting-ground. 

In the course of time those " Perfect Gentlemen," as the 
" P.G.'s " were euphemistically styled, who were over forty- 
five years of age, who had lived in Germany for the greater 
part of their lives, who had German wives and German busi- 
nesses, and who had no sons that could be sacrificed, were per- 
mitted to return to their homes and occupations if the local 
police had no objection. Many a man who was promised his 
discharge was doomed to remain in the Camp because the military 
authorities of his town refused to allow any Englishmen to live 
within their domain. This attitude was firmly maintained by 
the Kommandantur of Frankfort-on-the-Main, so that pro- 
German prisoners resident in that city had to obtain permission 
to settle in some less holy place. And even after prisoners were 
released into Germany they were subjected to ceaseless vigilance 
on the part of the local military and police officials, who kept 
in touch with the Camp authorities, so that if they were guilty, 
consciously or unconsciously, of any misdemeanour, they could 
be brought back again to the safe-keeping of Ruhleben. 

A certain prisoner who had spent the greater part of his fifty 
years in Germany, and about the validity of whose British 
citizenship there was some doubt, succeeded after repeated 
efforts in convincing Lieutenant Rudiger of his German loyalty 
and was allowed to return to his domicile in the Rhineland. Two 
months later, without warning or explanation, he was suddenly 



108 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 



arrested by two soldiers and brought back again to the Camp. 
Perplexed as to the cause of his re-internment he sought an inter- 
view with the Lieutenant, and the following conversation took 
place : 

Lieutenant : " Have you been corresponding with the Ameri- 
can Embassy ? " 

Prisoner : " Jawohl, Herr Leutnant ! " 

Lieutenant : " What did you correspond about ? " 

Prisoner : " I wanted to find out whether I could eventually 
obtain compensation for the loss sustained through my long 
internment." 

Lieutenant : " Compensation from whom ? " 

Piisoner : " From the British Government." 

Lieutenant : " Aha ! So you still consider yourself a British 
subject ! Very good. Then Ruhleben is after all the right place < ^ 
for you. Good day ! " 

In the course of time the pro-German section was regarded 
with a certain amount of good-humoured toleration, especially 
as its members were known to be treated somewhat more strictly 
than the majority, whilst the production of German plays also | 
helped to foster friendly relations between the two sections. 
In the " P.G." barracks one heard all kinds of German accents 
and dialects — Rhenish and Bavarian, Silesian and Swiss, Hano- 
verian and Viennese — but seldom an English word. The types, 
physical and facial, were also German. Several of the older men 
walked about in sabots, smoking their long-stemmed pipes with 
fat bowls ; there was a tall, young, strapping Bavarian in his 
native costume of short breeches, bare knees, and picturesque 
green jacket ; there was a bare-headed and bare-legged Wander- 
vogel, a youth of nineteen, who wore sandals the whole year 
round ; and there was a middle-aged innkeeper with a " beer-*' 
belly " and pointed grey beard, wearing a huge brown sombrero, 
and wearily waddling about in his shirt-sleeves. A curious 
member of the fraternity was a native of Heligoland, who had 
retained his English nationality after the island's acquisition by 
Germany. All those who had been on the list of the British 
Relief Fund were in due course struck off by order of the British 
Government. 

For twelve months a secret but unremitting campaign of re- 
cruiting was carried on among the " P.G.'s," with the result that 



r 

fri 
ft 

a; 
in 
wl 

a 

§ 



THE PRO-GERMANS 109 

about two or three hundred " volunteers " were secured. They 
left singly, and ostensibly on furlough, but their friends knew 
the meaning of their departure, and the news quickly spread. 
But apparently the authorities were not satisfied with the result 
of their campaign, for in May, 1916, they instituted a special 
inquiry in the pro-German barracks to discover further volunteers 
and to ascertain who was willing to become naturalized in 
Germany after the war. The Acting Commandant, who acted 
upon instructions from the Berlin War Office, uttered the warn- 
ing that those who had relatives or monetary interests in England 
would do wisely not to declare their willingness to become 
naturalized : only those who had no link of any kind with the 
enemy country should contemplate such a step. The bait did 
not prove very fetching. Only about a hundred men altogether, 
prisoners with German wives, German businesses, and German- 
reared children, expressed a desire to become citizens after the 
war — despite their eighteen months' internment as British 
prisoners. They were all concentrated in the " Tee-Haus," 
from which those " P.G.'s " were evicted who had no liking for 
the Kaiser as their sovereign. The latter, who became known 
as " ex-P.G.'s," had a difficulty at first in rinding a new home 
in the English barracks, but many of them had friends there 
who smoothed their path. The battue for " volunteers " proved 
a lamentable failure, whilst the aspirants for German citizenship 
were promised an early release. 



1 



CHAPTER XII 

SOCIAL AMENITIES AND CHARACTERS 

Local interests — Societies and associations — " Supermen " and " Snobs " — 
Monotony of restricted company — Box quarrels — A miniature cosmopolis — 
A medley of languages — Diversity of types — The negroes' barrack — " Pea- 
Nut " — Naturmenschen — Lion-tamer's " Exchange and Mart " — A correspondent 
of Ambassadors — Little Jimmy — Russian soldier-boys — Familiar localities — A 
quaint refrain. 

RUHLEBEN CAMP, at first merely a heterogeneous 
collection of prisoners, gradually developed into an 
organized community, with most of the qualities and 
attributes of a free community, supplemented by its own specific 
features. We had our own habits and customs, our own fashions 
and etiquette, our characters and celebrities, our rumours and 
excitements. Captivity produced little change in our natures, 
and after the first copious outpouring of mutual sympathy in 
the early months our various individual characteristics soon 
asserted themselves in the communal life we all helped to build , 
up. There were many who never shook off the first fit of depres- 
sion that seized them upon their internment, and who even 
steadily sank deeper into a state of incurable melancholia ; but 
for the most part our Camp had the varied aspect of a busy little 
provincial cosmopolis. Cut off though we were from the rest of I 
the world we had a multitude of interests of our own arising 
from our daily occupations and diversions, from our studies and 
sports, from our societies and associations, from the antipathy 
between barracks and captains, and from the innate antagonism 
between prisoners and their military guardians ; we had our 
rivalries and jealousies, our cliques and circles, our gossips and 
scandals, our problems and politics ; though all these things, 
real and vital as they were for the time and curiously reflected 
in our communal press, the Camp magazine, paled into insignifi- 

IIO 



SOCIAL AMENITIES AND CHARACTERS 111 

cance beside the passionate yearning for liberty that made us all 
kin. 

We dispensed with introductions during the first few months 
and started a conversation with anybody we met, either in or 
out of our barracks, upon the inevitable theme : " How were 
you caught ? ' But the innate reserve of the Englishman soon 
manifested itself even in captivity, and we felt in time that we 
must not address a fellow-prisoner without an introduction, lest 
we should be snubbed. Fortunately the groups that occupied 
the horse-boxes facilitated the making of acquaintances, though 
occasionally these groups had to be severed and re-formed owing 
to incompatibility of temperament. But in addition to these 
bases of intercourse, others were provided by the swarm of 
societies, associations, and circles of various kinds that were 
constantly created and that swept within their folds numbers of 
men united by some common object or interest. The natives 
of particular counties, the old boys of particular schools or 
colleges, the members of particular professions, and the devotees 
of common ideals, all discovered one another through the medium 
of pencilled notices on the boiler-house, and founded their respec- 
tive societies, with all the traditional paraphernalia of com- 
mittees, officials, constitutions, and minutes, and with the subse- 
quent phenomena of intrigues, opposition, and resignations. In 
course of time the Camp was literally honeycombed with these 
societies — intellectual, artistic, social, professional, and athletic — 
and their prominent members became our celebrities of greater 
of less magnitude. Thus did we develop a public life that was 
quite distinct from the private life that we led in our horse-boxes 
or hay-lofts — the private life that was lacking in all privacy, but 
which we nevertheless contrived to endow with some semblance 
of seclusion, even though it were merely confined to the four 
corners of our bedstead. And in addition to these formal associa- 
tions there were informal groups, cliques created by intellectual 
sympathy or simply by social snobbery, which were as well 
marked in their composition and characteristics as any properly 
organized society and which even acquired distinctive names. 
Thus the " Supermen " were a little body of enthusiastic intel- 
lectuals, who felt it their mission to instruct and edify their 
fellow-prisoners by organizing lectures and performing Shake- 
speare, Ibsen, and Shaw on the local stage. The " Snobs ' 



112 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

founded the first club in a shed that they called the " Summer- 
House," and prophetically announced, to the amused astonish- 
ment of the Camp, that there would be an annual meeting of 
members on every 6th of November. There was a middle-aged 
gentleman of ascetic mind who wielded a strong influence over 
a group of young University satellites ; and there was a band of 
spruce young men, smartly groomed in their stables, who had the 
unmistakable hall-mark of the " knut." 

One of the evils of internment is that you are thrown into 
close and constant contact with all sorts and conditions of men, 
for however entertaining a man's company may be one has a 
surfeit of it after a time if one can never avoid it. We met our 
fellow-captives a hundred times a day, and pretended to be in 
a hurry in order not to be asked for the nth time : " How 
d'you do ? " or " Anything fresh ? " Or if we did not want to 
appear rude, and wished to maintain friendly relations, we ex- 
changed a curt nod and went on our respective ways. We all had 
a small circle of intimate friends, with whom we discussed the 
news in our letters, or exchanged confidences about the con- 
tents of our parcels, or debated plans for the future ; a wider 
circle of associates with whom we discussed Camp affairs ; and 
a further circle of acquaintances with whom we argued about 
the duration of the war. In course of time we knew all our 
fellow-prisoners and their particular companions, though not 
always by name, and whenever a new face appeared in the Camp 
it was immediately detected and formed the subject of specula- 
tion. Social distinctions were not altogether effaced, even 
though noblemen's sons lived like commoners in a horse-box ; 
and a certain prestige clung to those who were privileged to dine 
in the " Casino " restaurant and pay big prices for little meals. 

" Box-mates," or neighbours in a loft, often pooled their 
parcels for a common mess, though from time to time these 
happy family gatherings were broken up through the friction 
engendered by cramped quarters. There was hardly a box 
without an occasional row, which was inevitable when six men 
were confined with their beds and baggage within an area ten 
feet square, and when some of them would be simultaneously 
engaged in such incongruous occupations as late breakfast, 
shaving, violin practice, and language-study. Tempers were 
often severely tested and Billingsgate could blush for shame at 



• SOCIAL AMENITIES AND CHARACTERS 113 

the blasphemous epithets that hurtled through the air. Yet 
there were many pleasant scenes too, tea parties and birthday 
parties, waited upon by fellow-prisoners, with a brave display 
of potted tongue, tinned fruits and cream, English currant-cake, 
biscuits and liqueur chocolates, and the fumes of German cigars 
rising amid the eloquence of facetious toasts or the strains of 
" It's a long, long way to Tipperary." We gradually became 
reconciled, even the youngest of us, to the absence of women, 
though on the rare occasions when a woman did appear in the 
Camp she was the cynosure of all eyes and the target of cynical 
criticism. Many a man consoled himself with the photograph 
of his wife or sweetheart fixed on the wall above his bed, and 
here and there one came across little art galleries of feminine 
beauty, occasionally in a very natural state, which were beyond 
the control of either military or moral censors. 

Although our Camp was officially styled Engldnderlager it 
required very little observation to see that it could more truth- 
fully be described as a miniature cosmopolis, for its population 
was made up of the natives of many climes, presented a variety 
of types, and spoke a babel of languages. Englishmen pure 
and simple, or Stock-Engldnder, as they were called by the 
Germans, naturally predominated, but they included representa- 
tives not only of the four divisions of the United Kingdom and 
of most of their counties, but also of nearly every part of the 
British Empire — Canada and South Africa, Australia and New 
Zealand, India, Jamaica, and the Straits Settlements. These 
colonials imparted an imperial breadth to our little community 
and figured prominently in our Empire Day celebrations. Second 
in point of numbers came the German group, comprising natives 
of Germany, Austria, and German Switzerland, who had been 
naturalised in England or her colonies, or who were the sons or 
grandsons of naturalised or British-born subjects, and including 
many who had neither seen England nor were able to speak a 
word of its language. Thirdly came the French group, con- 
sisting of Englishmen or naturalized Englishmen who had lived 
for very many years in Belgium or Northern France. And next 
came a motley group hailing from all corners of the globe — from 
Holland and Spain, from Finland and Mexico, from China and 
Arabia, from Poland and Ecuador, from Malta and the 
Cameroons. 



114 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

This heterogeneous composition of the Ruhleben community 
naturally endowed it with a considerable element of interest 
and even romance. You could hear the softest Irish brogue, 
the broadest Yorkshire dialect, the most provoking Cockney 
accent ; your ear was assailed in turn by the American twang, 
the Oxford drawl, and the most unadulterated Scotch. Those with 
a fine ear could easily distinguish from what part of Central 
Europe the German speakers hailed : whether from the Rhine- 
land or Bavaria, from Vienna or the Canton of Basle, from 
Hamburg or Wurtemberg. Whilst as for the other languages 
spoken, their name was legion. In the cool of the evening, 
when the greater part of the Camp tramped to and fro along the 
" Parade " — the stretch of ground extending from the foot of 
the grand stands to the railing that bounds the racing-track — 
you could fancy yourself in some busy international resort, for 
you heard snatches of conversation not only in English, French, 
and German, but also in Spanish and Italian, in Russian and 
Polish, in Dutch and Danish, in Yiddish and Esperanto. Many 
of those speaking these foreign tongues during their evening 
constitutional — a monotonous perambulation of a hundred 
yards, when the whole boredom of internment was most keenly 
felt — were actually learning the languages by the conversational 
method, if not discussing the latest rumours. But for the most 
part these British prisoners of war who spoke languages alien 
to the British Empire were simply using their own mother- 
tongue, or at least the tongue in which they had conveyed their 
thoughts and ideas for the greater part of their lifetime. The 
polyglot character of the Ruhleben population was also reflected 
in the local theatre, press, and lecture-hall, for we had plays not 
only in English but also in French, German, and Spanish ; there 
was a French journal, La Vie Frangaise, and an Italian periodical, 
II Messagero, besides the English magazine ; and lectures were 
given in French, German, and Spanish, as well as in English. 

It was not only the conglomeration of languages but the 
diversity of types that made Ruhleben a true cosmopolis, though 
continuous release tended to shear it of something of its diversity. 
There were spruce clerks and long-haired musicians, music-hall 
artists and pictorial artists, burly Grimsby fishermen in top- 
boots and dusky Maltese sailors with earrings, mercantile marine 
captains with gold-braided coats, and university students with 




THE BOER GIANT 




THE NEGROES' BARRACK 












\ 






v 



• 



SOCIAL AMENITIES AND CHARACTERS 115 

college blazers ; there were professional footballers and golfers, 
jockeys and trainers, chauffeurs and waiters, touts and adven- 
turers. There was a little colony of coloured men of different 
races and shades — Lascars and Jamaicans, West Africans and 
Zanzibarees — some with princely mutilations on their cheeks, 
others of a low physiognomical type, but all living happily to- 
gether in their own barrack, where their love of violin-scraping 
and banjo-strumming had to be restricted to certain hours of 
the day in the interests of peace, and where the professional 
boxers occasionally gave an unpremeditated display of their 
prowess. Many of these negroes did a busy trade in the morning 
as shoeblacks under such fancy names as " Sunny Smitty " or 
' Bambulai, the great Polish King," providing their customers 
with an arm-chair on a little platform, on which they could 
recline during the operation ; others conducted " Real English " 
or " Japanese " laundries ; some knitted hammocks, others sold 
mineral waters on the sports ground, and one of them — a grizzled 
man of fifty — made artistic paper-weights of different shapes out 
of slabs of marble. On Sunday those who could, overdressed 
themselves in smart lounge-suits, patent boots, and high collars 
that shone resplendent against their dusky skin. 

Even in this little colony the natives of the same region con- 
gregated together, talked in their native dialect, and played the 
primitive games with stones in little oval hollows which they had 
played on their native African soil. Most of them, even though 
illiterate, had a remarkable pride of race. I once overheard 
a conversation in which a negro, who prided himself on his 
English, reproached a fellow-negro for speaking his native 
dialect, whereupon the latter retorted : " That was the language 
of my father, and of my father's father, and if that was good 
enough for them I guess I need not be ashamed of it ! " The 
favourite member of the colony was a young native of the 
Cameroons, who was believed to be a German subject. He was 
a comical-looking fellow with a croaking voice, and with a limp 
due to a missing great toe. He was known as " Pea Nut," from 
the merchandise he was indulgently permitted by the authorities 
to sell, and he was so contented with his lot that he had to be 
removed from the Camp bodily on the day of his release in 
December, 1915. Another member of the colony seemed to have 
walked out of " Uncle Tom's Cabin " : he was a medium-sized 



116 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

fellow of middle age who walked with a peculiar shuffle, and who 
always wore a flat black felt hat and puffed away, with a strange 
leer in his beady eyes, at a small clay pipe. 

There were many other peculiar characters, who strutted or 
shuffled through the Camp. There was the Boer giant, whom 
I had first met in Stadtvogtei Jail, and whose view was always 
envied when he stood on the outskirts of a football crowd. There 
were a couple of Canadian ranchers who gave some astonishing 
displays of lassoing ; a couple of long-legged brothers, Naiur- 
menschen, who wore shaggy beards and sandals ; a man of un- 
balanced mind who tramped about with a wet cloth on his bald 
head, sucking sweets and singing snatches of song ; and a 
gentleman who always dressed as immaculately as if he were 
off to Regent Street — with well-creased trousers, fancy socks, 
resplendent tie, and monocle. There was also a real lion-tamer, 
who had toured with various circuses across Central Europe. 
He was a big, broad-shouldered man, with a full beard and 
leonine brown locks beneath a large sombrero, and he wore a 
spotted red handkerchief round his neck, corduroy trousers sup- 
ported by a massive belt, and tremendous topboots. He was 
the founder and proprietor of a busy " Exchange and Mart " in 
the loft of which he was sub-captain, where he exchanged bovril 
cubes for back numbers of the Camp magazine, margarine for 
shaving soap, and coffee for cast-off suits. There was a half- 
demented Belgian, known as the " French Ambassador," who 
wore a black bowler hat and tight black trousers : his hands were 
red, swollen, and smitten with some disease, and he always 
seemed to be carrying behind his back his pewter dinner bowl, 
which he incessantly cleaned beneath one barrack tap after 
another. There was also a man, evidently in the fifties, who 
wore an Inverness secured by a chain across the breast, a sailor- 
like hat with ribbons fluttering at the back, and white gaiters ; 
he was reputed to correspond with nobody of less rank than an 
Ambassador, and he amused his neighbours in his barrack by 
his antics as a wandering minstrel and as a supposed tight-rope 
dancer. Then there were an unsavoury individual, who boasted 
of having cycled from London to Monte Carlo, and who lent his 
mud-stained machine to his fellow-prisoners at a penny a ride ; 
a spectacled language-teacher who gave legal advice, English 
and German, on all personal problems created by the war ; an 



SOCIAL AMENITIES AND CHARACTERS 117 

uncouth humorist who always laughed at his own jokes with a 
reiterated cachinnation ; and the versatile " Barney " who 
financed the first and only sandwich vendor and directed most 
of the boxing matches. 

Then there were various popular characters known by some 
distinctive sobriquet. " Lobster " was the smart smiling youth 
who presided at the outfitting store. " Polly " and " Skinny 
Lizzie " were two men who took a conspicuous part as women 
in the dramatic performances. Little Jimmy was a quaint little 
fellow with oldish ruddy face, a former stable-keeper from 
Brussels, who hawked the Ruhleben Daily News, a cyclostyled 
English summary of the morning's news. With his sheaf of 
sheets he hurried to and fro on his short nimble legs — his trousers 
tightened at the bottom with a clasp — calling out in a high- 
pitched treble : " The most important paper in the Camp ! The 
daily Daily News ! Special telegrams from our correspondents 
in all parts of the world ! The daily Daily — ever so gaily ! " 
No matter how sad or melancholy one might be, the sight and 
sound of little Jimmy, who scurried about as though he were 
in Fleet Street, compelled one to smile. And among this gallery 
of Ruhleben characters must also be included the two little 
Russian boys, who had been captured fully uniformed at Novo- 
Georgievsk, where they had acted as brave messengers behind 
the lines, and who, after various journeyings, found a friendly 
welcome in our Camp, where they were petted and pampered by 
their older fellow-prisoners. 

The " ethos " of Ruhleben, if that be not too dignified a term, 
also expressed itself in the names given to particular parts of 
the Camp, such as the open space near the offices of the military 
authorities, which was illumined at night by an electric arc- 
lamp, and which was christened "Trafalgar Square," because 
of the supposed resemblance of the standard to the Nelson 
Column. Then there were " Bond Street," in which there were 
concentrated the canteens ; and " Fleet Street," below the stairs 
of the first grand stand, where the offices of the Camp magazine 
and the Ruhleben Daily News were located. But probably the 
most remarkable product of the Ruhleben atmosphere was the 
quaint jingle : 

" There was a cow climbed up a tree, 
O, you blooming liar ! " — 



118 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

which was sung to a distinctive melody whenever anybody 
related an obviously far-fetched story. This refrain was of such 
common currency in the Camp that it was quite usual to speak 
of any tall story or any extravagant rumour as " a cow " ; and 
it actually received dramatisation in our Cinderella pantomime, 
when, as a comment upon the fantastic speech of one of the 
characters, a faked cow climbed up a tree to the accompaniment 
of the familiar strains blared forth by cornet and trombone. 



* 



s 



CHAPTER XIII 

SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 

Summer fashions — A I fresco meals — Local plagues and parasites — A strange 
mouse-hole — Rat-hunts — Measles — New barracks — Boys ' escapades — Leaking 
roofs — Wash-house and latrines — Camp improvements — " R.X.D." — " R.S.D." 
— Clubs — Flower-beds — Sun-baths — Card-playing — Cinema show — The medal 
agitation — A " grand count " — August Bank Holiday — Sports prize distribution. 

AFTER the manifold hardships that we had endured in 
winter we all breathed more freely under the genial rays 
Lof the summer sun. We had, indeed, fondly hoped 
that our internment would come to an end after the first six 
months, but when April arrived our military wiseacres, who 
studied English and German papers assiduously, and diligently 
pieced together information from letters received from German 
friends, came to the sad conclusion that there was no probability 
of peace before the end of the autumn. So we resigned ourselves 
to the inevitable and resolved to make the best of our plight, 
in which we were favoured by the weather. We had to discard 
our sweaters, mufflers, and top-boots, and don summer clothing, 
of which some prisoners wore very little. There was a good dis- 
play of white flannels, whilst many contented themselves merely 
with a shirt, short linen breeches, and shoes, as though prepared 
at any moment for a race. We naturally lived as much as possible 
in the open air, eating, reading, studying, writing, playing, 
strolling, in regular alternation. Most of us took our chairs, 
and many of us tables too, out of the barracks to some shady 
spot away from the smells of the dust-bin and swill-tub (which 
were not provided with lids till months later), and an alfresco 
meal was a delight after the squalid atmosphere of the horse-box 
or hay-loft. We increased our comfort by buying deck-chairs 
or folding chairs, to which we fitted portable desks in the form 
of a board with a couple of handles secured to the arms by 

119 



120 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

hooks. We carried our chairs about with us to the cricket-field, 
to watch a match ; to the third grand stand, to attend an open- 
air lecture ; or to the parade in front of the first stand, to listen 
to the weekly promenade concerts. And our hour for retiring 
was advanced from nine o'clock, when it was still light, until ten, 
though our guards already began a quarter before that hour to 
bawl out : " Schlafen gehen ! " (Go to sleep !) 

Summer had its drawbacks too, however, as we soon learned. 
We were plagued by dust, flies, mosquitoes, spiders, lice, mice, 
and rats. The dust got into our shoes and socks, it settled on 
our clothes, and whenever there was a wind, the dust was blown 
into our eyes and ears. The flies were innumerable, and they 
flitted and buzzed in such swarms and with such audacity over 
our table — settling themselves on the very piece of bread and 
butter we held in our hand — that we tired of chasing them away. 
The canteen sold fly-catchers consisting of long strips of paper 
smeared with some poisonous grease, but although the three 
or four that we hung up in each horse-box soon became crowded 
there appeared to be no diminution of the pest. The mosquitoes 
were more troublesome still, for whilst we could ward them off 
at daytime we were a helpless prey to their attacks at night, and 
many men woke in the morning with red swellings on their 
hands and cheeks. The mosquitoes were bred in the stagnant 
pond in the middle of the race-course and could have been 
exterminated, but despite the representations made on our 
behalf by the American Embassy nothing was done, owing to 
the shortage of petroleum. The frogs that swarmed in the 
pond were a minor nuisance, although, while their antics amused 
us at daytime, their ceaseless croaking kept some of us awake 
at night. The spiders never ceased to spin their webs in our 
boxes, on the ceiling and walls, and spread many a grossamer 
net over the contents of our topmost shelves. 

Lice appeared only sporadically, fortunately enough, as 
immediate measures were always taken for their extermination. 
Their habitat was often reported to the military authorities by 
the laundry manager, in consequence of a discovery made in the 
course of washing some undergarment. If the owner of the 
garment lived in a horse-box then he and all his box-companions 
had to take all their bedding and clothing to the baths at the 
Emigrants' Railway Station for the purpose of disinfection and 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 121 

fumigation, whilst the box itself, after the removal of all its 
contents, was subjected to a similar process. But if the owner 
of the infected garment lived in a loft or wooden barrack the 
cleansing and purifying operations were naturally on a more 
extensive scale, and the smell caused by the fumigation kept us 
all at a distance. At one time lice were so prevalent that our 
captains were instructed to announce to us at bed-time that 
everybody should change into a night-shirt, and that if one did 
not have any, one should apply to the Relief Committee, and 
that anybody afflicted with vermin should report to the doctor 
the following morning. These announcements were naturally 
greeted with an outburst of ribald comment and mutual accusa- 
tion. 

Mice, and to a less extent rats, began to annoy us from the 
very beginning of our internment. They usually came out of 
their holes in the floor or walls at night, when we were in bed, 
and scurried along the shelves, and even across our beds, in 
search of food, and although a vigorous banging of the wall would 
frighten them away, they would soon resume their audacious 
foray. We adopted various precautions to protect our bread, 
cheese, and other food-stuffs from being nibbled, and set many 
a trap in vain, for these Prussian rats were singularly resourceful. 
Once, in the early summer, as I lay in bed, I perceived a peculiar 
rumbling beneath my head. I thought it rather mysterious, and 
my wonderment only increased the following night when I 
heard the same rumbling and scurrying again. The next morn- 
ing, as the strange noise continued, a sudden inspiration struck 
me. I lifted up my pillow, bed-sheet, and bolster, and there, in 
the mattress, was a little hole out of which darted three pinkish 
baby-mice, which immediately vanished. I had the hole filled 
with three naphthalin balls and then patched up, to ward off: a 
return visit, but I slept with my pillow at the opposite end for 
a week before venturing to rest my head again over the deserted 
home of the three little mice. After trying various ineffectual 
means of destruction in our barrack, we secured a cat, and in- 
stalled it in a wooden box filled with shavings, which we placed 
in the stable-passage. That cat got rid of more mice in a week 
than we had been able to catch with all our traps for the last 
six months. We often looked on while she played with her 
victim, allowing it to run away a foot or two, then pouncing 



122 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

upon it, turning it over with her paws, and finally carrying it 
away to some secluded corner, where she began by crunching off 
the head. Our cat was also a match for a rat, though she never 
let the animal go once she had seized it, and there was always 
a vicious struggle, which attracted a crowd of spectators, who 
remained until they saw the cat bite through the rat's throat. 
There was, besides, some organised rat-hunting by means of a 
dog and a couple of ferrets, an enterprise that formed one of 
Ruhleben's minor excitements. The hunt was directed by an 
expert, a former stable-boy, and on one occasion it yielded a bag 
of thirteen rats, which were strung up on a pole for the edification 
of the Acting Commandant who passed by. 

Another misfortune that overtook us was an outbreak of 
measles, of the German type, which extended over several weeks 
and claimed about a hundred victims. The cause was commonly 
attributed to the excessive heat that prevailed for some weeks 
in that first summer, but the squalid and insanitary conditions, 
and, above all, the congestion in which we lived, were doubtless 
mainly responsible for the epidemic. There was scarcely a 
barrack that was spared from infection, though most of the sick 
men were under thirty. Every now and again we saw a bed, 
laden with all the belongings of its owner, being carried from the 
Camp to the lazaret at the Emigrants' Railway Station opposite, 
and accompanied by the flushed and watery-eyed prisoner. 
The patients were kept in isolation for a minimum period of 
three weeks, and all returned in due course, complaining more 
of the monotony and inadequate treatment than of the dis- 
comfort they had endured. 

Fortunately the military authorities, in response to the pres- 
sure of the American Embassy, bestirred themselves and provided 
increased housing accommodation, which was ready in June, 
1915. They built another four one-storied wooden barracks 
behind the grand stands, numbered XVI, XVII, XVIII, and 
XIX, of which the first three were each filled with about a 
hundred and fifty prisoners, drawn mostly from the overcrowded 
lofts of the stables, whilst XIX was used as a Schonungsbarracke, 
or " Convalescent Barrack," for the accommodation of those 
who needed regular medical attendance or rest, but whose health 
was not serious enough to warrant their transference to the 
lazaret. The authorities also built another four wooden bar- 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 128 

racks on the extreme west of the Camp, beyond the brick wall 
by which the latter was originally bounded, so that parts of the 
wall had to be broken down in order to provide access to the 
new barracks, which were numbered from XX to XXIII. 
The tenants for these new premises were likewise drawn from 
the congested lofts of the neighbouring stables, and thus the 
entire loft of Stable VI, which had been condemned by the 
American Ambassador as unfit for habitation, was cleared. 
Other tenants consisted of inmates from horse-boxes, who were 
selected by their respective guards for transference as a punish- 
ment for their late rising in the morning. 

Half of Barrack XXIII was boarded off for the housing of all 
prisoners under seventeen years of age, who were almost all 
sailors and fishing-boys, and it was henceforth known as " The 
Nursery." The two adult prisoners who were appointed to look 
after these juveniles had a pretty busy time, as the latter were 
always up to some prank or other. On one occasion two of them 
were found making a hole through the floor, with the object 
apparently of digging a tunnel to a point outside the Camp. 
The Commandant took a lenient view of the offence, but sen- 
tenced the boys to twenty-four hours in the cells, to serve as 
a warning to the others. This punishment failed, however, to 
deter two other youngsters from making a more serious attempt at 
escape. One night they succeeded in escaping. They slept in the 
neighbouring field, and wandered the next morning into the streets 
of Charlottenburg, where a policeman overheard their English 
conversation and arrested them. A few hours later they were 
brought back into the Camp, looking very crestfallen, and in 
the solitude of the cells they ruminated for three days upon the 
futility of heroic ambitions. But the most amusing feature of 
their adventure was the pencilled note that one pinned to his 
bed, and in which he " bequeathed " to a friend the weekly dole 
of five marks that he received from the Relief Fund. 

Although the new barracks relieved the congestion, their 
inmates were by no means comfortably lodged, as there was 
no water supply on the premises. For each of the two new 
groups of barracks there was a special wash-house which was 
provided with a few shower-sprays as well as sinks ; but the 
inmates of the farthest barracks who used these wash-houses 
had to journey about a hundred yards, there and back — an 



124 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

excursion by no means pleasant in the rain in summer, and 
positively cruel in the following winter. The only water that 
the inhabitants of these barracks received on the premises was 
that which dripped through the " waterproof " roof when it 
was raining, and then a broad and deep pool often formed round 
the barracks opposite the kitchen, rendering them impossible 
ol access except by a bridge of planks. Even the roof of the 
Schonungsbarracke leaked, compelling the invalid inmates on 
rainy days to move their beds out of danger. Many months 
later eaves and rain gutters were constructed, but the accumula- 
tion of rain outside some of the wooden barracks, especially 
XII, XIII, and XVII, was a regular phenomenon. 

Another " improvement " introduced by the authorities was 
the construction of new latrines at the extreme east and west 
end of the Camp, the distance between being about half a mile. 
The largest old latrine, about which the American Ambassador, 
on his visit on March 3rd, 1915, exclaimed : " Es ist schauder- 
haft ! " was converted into a wash-house, in which prisoners 
could take a shower-bath and wash their underclothing. This 
wash-house, like all the others, was supplied only with cold 
water ; and as the floor was of concrete, bathers had to stand 
beneath the sprays in their clogs, goloshes, or sandals. As for 
the new latrines, which apparently were structurally superior, 
the sewage system was at first so deficient that they had to be 
closed for several weeks and threatened serious danger to the 
health of the Camp ; whilst from the cesspool, situated between 
the doctor's consulting-room and the gate through which we 
were always passing, there was an overpowering stench that 
generally assailed the prisoners on their return with their dinner 
from the kitchen. Even when the latrines were at length put 
in order the primitive method of flushing produced such a stench 
that even the strongest man was repelled, and the opposite 
windows of Stable VI had to be closed to prevent the ingress of 
the pestilential odour. Unfortunately my horse-box was one 
whose window had to be closed, and as we had no cord and 
pulley arrangement the closing had always to be done by one 
of us climbing on to the upper bed. This malodorous misfortune 
was never realized by official visitors, for they seldom called 
before eleven o'clock, an hour after the vile stench had been 
dissipated. 




THE PARADE IN SUMMER 




FETCHING DINNER 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 125 

The various reforms and improvements carried out by our 
own efforts, and at the expense of the Camp Fund, were more 
thorough. In the first place, the roads, which throughout the 
winter were nothing but bogs and marshes, were gradually con- 
verted into negotiable paths with the help of ashes and a steam- 
roller, and by the labour of prisoners who received a regular 
wage. The canteens in " Bond Street ' were improved and 
extended, and a yellow-painted sign was affixed to each store, 
so that our shopping centre looked something like the High 
Street in an English village. The little boiler-house for the 
supply of hot water was also greatly enlarged and improved, 
with six boilers placed on a circular, red-brick foundation, and 
fed by a common fire whose smoke escaped through a tall chimney. 
The trades that had been carried on throughout the winter in the 
grand stand hall, the carpenters', barbers', shoemakers', were 
transferred to more suitable quarters. The principal carpenters 
had a large and well-equipped shed behind one of the stables, 
where they found constant employment in supplying the require- 
ments of their fellow-prisoners. They made tables, shelves, 
cupboards, notice-boards, portable desks, lids for dust-bins, and 
even beds — for many prisoners, who despaired of receiving iron 
bedsteads from the military authorities, scraped their money 
together and had simple, narrow wooden beds made with a 
" spring mattress " of strong interlaced cord. The shoemaker 
was located in a store at " Bond Street," where, owing to the 
high price of leather in Germany, the " Bond Street " price of 
six shillings and sixpence had to be paid for soling and heeling 
— a circumstance that induced most of us to have our boots 
well studded with nails and protectors. The hairdressers were 
provided with a really well-equipped shop in a corner of the grand 
stand hall, which was completely partitioned off with a high 
wooden wall, whilst smaller barbers' establishments were set up 
in various stable passages. Our horse-boxes and hay-lofts all 
received a coat of whitewash in turn, an operation that involved 
the temporary removal of our belongings outside the barrack, 
where we camped out for the day under a broiling sun that 
melted our butter. The cost of the whitewashing was supposed 
to be borne by the Camp Fund, but in most of the barracks 
(including mine) the prisoners were made to contribute towards 
the expense. The whitewashing was for us an unmistakable 



126 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

augury that we were doomed to spend a second winter in Ruhle- 
ben. 

The other innovations introduced by ourselves to increase our 
comfort were the establishment of the " R.X.D." and the 
' R.S.D.," the founding of various clubs, the planting of flower- 
beds in front of our barracks, and the opening of a cinema 
palace. The " R.X.D." was the popular title of the Ruhleben 
Express Delivery, which was an internal postal organization, 
officially permitted, for the delivery of prisoners' messages to 
one another, and was largely used by the Camp Societies to con- 
vene their members to meetings. It was modelled upon the 
ordinary postal service : there were small, attractively designed 
letter-boxes, bearing the hours of collection, fixed in each bar- 
rack and in various parts of the Camp ; there were stamped 
envelopes and post-cards and adhesive stamps of various colours 
and prices from one-third of a penny ; there were postmen with 
green badges who brought you a letter an hour after it was 
dispatched ; and the letter was actually marked with the time 
at which it was posted. The " R.X.D." was a very useful in- 
stitution even at Ruhleben, where one could never be certain 
of finding a fellow-prisoner " at home," though it was at first 
abused by many practical jokers who sent anonymous threats, 
accusations, and reproaches to their neighbours. The service 
flourished for nearly twelve months, until the military authorities 
discovered that the managers were selling to outside collectors 
at fancy prices sets of Ruhleben stamps that inside the Camp 
cost only one mark, and that these stamps were actually quoted 
and reproduced in German and Austrian catalogues. Thereupon 
the authorities confiscated the remainder of the postal stock, 
suppressed the organisation, and imprisoned its enterprising 
managers for three weeks in the " bird-cage." A few weeks later 
arose a successor in the form of the " Camp Messenger Service," 
but as this had none of the picturesque accessories of the 
" R.X.D." it had only a languishing existence. The companion 
organization of the " R.S.D.," the Ruhleben Supplies Delivery, 
was the private concern of a few prisoners, who undertook to 
collect and deliver canteen orders twice a day in all parts of the 
Camp and charged a commission of five pfennige on the mark, 
or 5 per cent upon all orders. The errand boys wore a red 
arm-band, carried their wares in a sort of wooden truck with two 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 127 

handles at each end, and gave each customer a detailed and 
receipted bill. This undertaking died a natural death in the 
second winter of our internment in consequence of the short- 
age of commodities at the canteens and the rapid decline of 
commission revenue. 

A club may seem a rather incongruous institution in a prison 
camp, but its establishment at Ruhleben at least shows how 
faithfully we modelled our life upon that of a typical English 
community. The first to be founded was officially styled " The 
Summer-House Club," but immediately nicknamed " The 
Snobs." It was made exclusive by an entrance subscription of 
twenty marks, and the money was devoted to making cosy and 
habitable a shed secured for the purpose from the military 
authorities. The second club was " The Corner House," a long 
shed situated behind Stable VII, which could not comfortably 
hold more than forty people, and most of the members of which 
were musicians or artists. The club contained a piano ; its two 
opposite small walls were decorated with highly-coloured paint- 
ings, the " Cafe de la Paix " and an Irish rural scene, by a mem- 
ber, Mr. C. Winzer ; and the room was frequently used for 
musical and dramatic rehearsals. Lower down on the same side 
was the " Twenty-five Club," so called from the limited number 
of its members, and next to it was a homely furnished hut 
occupied jointly as a sitting-room by five prisoners. On the 
opposite side was the " Phcenix Club," which had a pretty 
exterior of green trellis-work ; whilst at the other end of the 
same thoroughfare were the clubs of the Dramatic Society, of 
the Marine Engineers, and of the members of Barrack III. All 
these clubs were somewhat primitive structures, badly lighted 
and ventilated. They were necessitated by the utter lack of a 
recreation or reading room, and their privacy compensated 
somewhat for the lack of comfort, though in the winter only 
Spartan spirits could sit in them. There were also, in various 
parts of the Camp, especially in the pro-German section, several 
huts or summer-houses built by the prisoners, at their own 
expense, for their own convenience during the day. None of 
these various clubs and huts abutted more than six or seven 
feet beyond the walls against which they were built, and most 
of them were merely improvements of sheds that had already 
existed : so that the plea of the American Ambassador, that the 



128 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

building of a recreation-room was impeded or retarded by the 
occupation of " necessary space " by these private clubs, was 
manifestly untenable. Moreover, the entire number of prisoners 
who were able to benefit by all these clubs scarcely exceeded 250, 
that is, less than one-twentieth of the whole population in the 
Camp. 

The joys of summer were made a little real by the pretty 
flower-beds that we planted around and opposite our barracks, 
and by the biscuit -tins filled with pansies, violets, and bluebells 
that were suspended along the side of the wooden staircase. 
The cost of these floral decorations was borne by the inmates of 
each barrack, whilst the gardening was done voluntarily by 
experts and amateurs. These flower-beds provided cheerful 
surroundings on a summer's afternoon for a siesta in a deck- 
chair, though many preferred to take a sun-bath in their short 
breeches upon the verge of the playing field ; but owing to the 
offended modesty of the wife of the Acting Commandant, who 
occasionally walked along the outer track, sun-bathing, after a 
few weeks, was forbidden. A favourite shelter on the hot days 
was provided by the grand stands, on which prisoners would sit, 
lounge, sleep, watch the sports, read, study, and play cards or 
chess. Card-playing was officially allowed from the beginning 
of the summer, though playing for money was strictly forbidden. 
This prohibition was frequently ignored, however, and whenever 
the guards caught men playing for money they seized whatever 
money was displayed and it was confiscated by the military 
authorities. The third grand stand was reserved for educational 
purposes — for open-air lectures, classes, and private study, 
though the simultaneity of manifold activities proved a some- 
what disturbing factor. On the other hand, one could seek 
distraction in the little cinema palace built at one end of the 
grand stand hall, where the same film was displayed four or five 
times a day to audiences of about a hundred and fifty. The show 
was first opened at the end of August, 1915, in the presence of the 
Acting Commandant and his wife and various military officers, 
when a film of Ruhleben Camp life, as seen in its brightest 
aspects, was unfolded. The cinema was under the control of 
our Entertainments Committee, and it offered a fresh programme 
every week. 

Apart from these various developments in our ordinary daily 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 129 

life, the first summer was also diversified by three or four episodes 
that made more than a transitory impression. The first was 
commonly known as the " Medal Craze." A number of associa- 
tions were formed, consisting of members hailing from the same 
country or county, for the purpose of fostering social intercourse 
and Ruhleben memories in the days of future freedom. But in 
addition to these more or less ideal objects, the associations also 
conceived a scheme of having a medal or badge designed to serve 
as a token of commemoration of our captivity ; and the great 
questions that agitated them all were — Shall there be only one 
common medal for all the associations, or shall each association 
have its own design, or shall the obverse be alike for all and the re- 
verse be left for individual fancy ; shall the medal be only of one 
metal, or of gold, silver, and bronze, according to the purse of the 
prisoner ; and, above all, shall the medal be struck at once or 
shall we wait until we get back to England ? All these questions 
were debated with considerable vigour and vehemence, wit and 
eloquence, at private and public meetings that extended over 
several weeks. There were, first of all, the Ruhleben British 
Association, the largest in numbers, which advocated a single 
medal of one design and metal ; and then the London and Home 
Counties, the Lancastrians, the Yorkshiremen, the Northern 
Counties, the Welshmen, the Scotsmen, the Irishmen, the 
Canadians, the South Africans, and the Australians, some of 
whom favoured a common medal and others diversity of design 
and metal. The largest meetings were those held on Sunday 
morning, when the enthusiasm that prevailed among the crowded 
assembly in the Grand Stand Hall seemed to herald our imminent 
release, and where the most striking utterance was that of a young 
Yorkshire graduate, who declared that as he had a gold chain 
he must have a gold medal — a statement that evoked a veritable 
tornado of laughter and that was ever afterwards quoted against 
the speaker. One of the societies actually obtained coloured 
designs for Ruhleben medals from a Midland firm, displayed 
them, and invited orders — with money — by a certain date, after 
which it would be " too late." But another society enquired of 
the American Embassy whether it would be right that the weekly 
relief money should be expended upon medals, and received a 
discouraging reply emanating from the British Government. The 
Camp magazine, moreover, poured ridicule upon the whole idea, 

9 



130 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

and a special meeting was also called to protest against the 
craze ; whereupon the agitation died down. 

Another episode was that known as the " grand count," which 
was due to the uncertainty of our guardians as to the exact 
number of prisoners they had at Ruhleben. We used to be 
counted every day, and often twice a day, whilst formed up in 
fours ; we were counted and re-counted by German " non- 
coms." and privates, by our captains and vice-captains, until 
we began to think that we had been created only to be counted. 
But the more they counted us the more muddled in their figures 
did our guardians become, until they determined upon one 
grand count, upon which the whole of their military mathemati- 
cal forces were concentrated. At two o'clock, one broiling after- 
noon in June, we were all marched out on to the race-course, 
with the space of a couple of yards between the inmates of one 
barrack and those of the next, and after we had been baking for 
half an hour we were all reformed, amid much confusion, into 
alphabetical groups lined up in alphabetical order. Then the 
staff of officers, " non-coms." and privates, divided into three or 
four parties and armed with archives and registers, started a 
roll-call of several groups simultaneously. The proceedings were 
attended with no little amusement, which provided some con- 
solation for the heat and fatigue. It was found that some men 
had been registered twice, under their forenames as well as sur- 
names ; that those whose names began with " C" were also 
entered under " K," and " vice versa " ; that others were registered 
as present who had died or been released ; and that others again 
were not registered at all, especially if there were fellow-prisoners 
bearing the same name. The net result of this sweltering count- 
ing parade, which lasted four hours and a half (the prolific letter 
" S " being the last to be dismissed), was that the authorities 
found they had more of us than they had believed, whereupon 
we hazarded the ingenious suggestion that the excess number 
should be released so that the figures might tally. But as the 
authorities still seemed doubtful of the accuracy of their census, 
nothing was done. 

Another striking event was the celebration of our first August 
Bank Holiday, into which we tried to import as much of the 
festival atmosphere as possible. The canteens were closed, and 
everybody fared forth to the race-course, where the field was 



SUMMER DEVELOPMENTS 131 

covered with all sorts of little side-shows and booths, about 
sixty in all, including many little " Monte Carlo " tables. The 
traditional cocoanut shy was numerously represented, the 
targets at some booths consisting of caricatures of the three 
candidates who were at that time seeking election as " M.P." 
for Ruhleben. A breath of " 'Appy 'Ampstead " was wafted 
across the field, which was enlivened by the huge form of a clean- 
shaven, middle-aged man tricked out in the dress of an over- 
grown baby, with pink sash and socks and rouged cheeks ; and 
by a little group of pierrots and " pierrettes," who sang and 
danced before an applauding crowd. The prevalent thirst was 
quenched not only by the mineral waters sold on the ground, but 
also by the Berliner Weissbier, a bottle of which was given to 
every man at the cost of the Camp Fund ; and the doings of the 
day terminated with a promenade concert, at which the prizes 
won at the sports competitions of three months before were 
distributed by the Baroness von Taube, the wife of the Acting 
Commandant. The final act was the presentation by Mr. Powell, 
the Captain of the Camp, of a dainty silver cup, to the Baroness 
with the following inscription : — 

" TO FRAU BARONIN VON TAUBE 

Souvenir of the Ruhleben Camp Sports, 
May 24, 1915." 

The Baroness accepted the cup amid the ringing cheers of the 
thousands of prisoners, and the Baron, who returned thanks on 
her behalf, expressed the hope that peace would soon be restored 
and that we would all be able soon to return home hale and 
hearty. And then, after more cheers, we dispersed and walked 
up and down along the parade, watching the glorious golden 
sunset over the ammunition factories of Spandau, whose trails 
of upward curling smoke recalled us to a more solemn frame of 
mind. 



CHAPTER XIV 

SPORTS AND PASTIMES 

The necessity of sports — Rounders — Sports field — Football Association — 
Barrack colours — Rugby — Important matches — Cricket games — Athletic sports 
competitions — Tennis — Golf — " La pelote " — Boxing — Skittles. 

ONE of the redeeming features of our life at Ruhleben 
consisted of the well-organised character of the sports, 
which included football and cricket, tennis and golf, 
hockey and lacrosse, and " la pelote." The indulgence in such 
sports might suggest to the unthinking that we had a pleasant 
time in our internment, but little reflection should suffice to 
realise that it was not a luxury but a necessity, if we were to 
maintain our physical fitness and save ourselves from the ennui 
and inertia that would otherwise have overtaken a considerable 
number. Small thanks, however, were due to the military 
authorities, for the concession that made sports on a large scale 
possible was but tardily wrung from them, and their pursuit 
involved an expenditure on the part of the British Government. 
It was the sports that made the privations of captivity bearable 
for many hundreds, and they accordingly deserve some detailed 
consideration. 

The sporting instinct in the Englishman is so strong that we 
had not been in Ruhleben a week before a number of football 
clubs sprang into existence under such familiar names as 
" Tottenham Hotspurs," " Manchester Rangers," " Bolton Wan- 
derers," and " Newcastle United." There was only one football 
available, and that none too robust, but it did not prevent this 
sudden growth of a host of rival teams, who arranged matches 
for many weeks ahead. The ground upon which the game was 
played was a large open space in the compound, and the goal- 
posts were marked by stones and piled-up jackets. But the 
enthusiasm v/as soon turned to disappointment when the military 

172 



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 183 

authorities forbade the game on the ground that the stable- 
windows might be smashed. Thereupon we had to content 
ourselves with the less exciting game of rounders, which was 
played with considerable energy and spirit during the first few 
months. There was a picked team in every barrack, and the 
matches took place in the wide space between Barracks II and 
XI, which was blocked every morning by the crowd of interested 
onlookers. The results were recorded on the notice-board of the 
" Ruhleben Rounders League," which was posted on the neigh- 
bouring boiler-house, and which was studied with growing 
excitement as the competition drew to a close. The only other 
outdoor game that was played occasionally in the first winter 
was one in which two blindfolded boys struck at one another 
with clouts, to the amusement of a host of spectators who stood 
round. This peculiar pastime was generally played at night, 
within the light thrown from a great arc lamp, and the faces of 
the throng formed an interesting study. 

The practice of organised sports dated from the day at the end 
of March, 1915, when half of the inner race-course was placed at 
our disposal for the purpose. The concession was granted by 
General von Kessel, the Commander-in-Chief of the Mark of 
Brandenburg, ostensibly in appreciation of the manner in which 
we conducted the affairs of the Camp ; but a rent had to be paid 
of 2400 marks (£120) a year, which came out of the funds supplied 
by the British Government. The ground, which was a semi-oval, 
had an area of about 200 yards by 150, and it was open from eight 
till twelve in the morning, and from two till five in the afternoon, 
with an extension in summer till seven o'clock. Upon this ground 
all kinds of sports were practised, and great crowds frequently 
lined up to watch an exciting football or cricket match, whilst 
individual prisoners took walks round the outer verge of the 
circumscribed area. A few sentries patrolled a little distance 
away, and beguiled their weary hours by watching the sport. 
The field was approached by means of a path across the outer 
track, which was covered with planks to prevent any damage, 
and which was also roped off on either side. A Football Associa- 
tion Committee, consisting of representatives of the different 
barracks, was soon called into being, for the purpose of measuring 
out the field and arranging matches. Later on, other committees 
were formed for cricket, tennis, golf, hockey, lacrosse, and 



184 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

physical drill, and delegates from all these various committees 
made up the Sports Control Committee. 

Of all the games played on the race-course, football was un- 
doubtedly the most popular, and there was seldom an interest- 
ing match that did not attract a thousand onlookers. Much of 
its popularity was undoubtedly due to the presence and activity 
of the two international players, Mr. Steve Bloomer and Mr. 
Fred Pentland, who had been teaching the German youth how 
to kick the ball when they were overtaken by the war ; whilst 
Mr. John Cameron, late manager of the Tottenham Hotspurs, 
rendered valuable service as Secretary of the Association Com- 
mittee. Most of the barracks ran two teams, and each barrack 
had its own distinctive colours. The cost was borne by the 
various barrack clubs, to which non-players as well as players 
subscribed ; and there was not only an athletic outfitting store 
under the management of a prisoner, but also a special office for 
the administration of sporting affairs. Three separate fields 
were marked out for football, and they were provided with goal- 
nets, ropes, posts, and a whitewashed border-line. At first only 
" soccer " was played, but afterwards Rugby too made its appear- 
ance, and it was entertaining to watch the looks, and hear the 
German comments of the pro-German prisoners, who had never 
seen a Rugby match before in their lives. The Rugby teams 
bore such names as " Barbarians," " Blackheath," " Wasps," 
" Harlequins," " United Services," and " Nomads." Association 
was played strictly according to English rules, except that, 
owing to limitations of time, there was only thirty-five minutes' 
play each way ; and no transfers were allowed. 

The first representative football match was played on Sunday 
morning, March 28th, 1915, between " Ruhleben," under the 
captaincy of Mr. Steve Bloomer, and " The Rest," under the 
captaincy of Mr. Richards. The Acting Commandant, Baron 
von Taube, kicked off, and, as the first number of the Camp 
magazine repoited, " the form in this game was so good that 
every one could see that with practice the play could reach a 
pretty high standard." Two leagues were formed, which played 
regularly until the first week in May. The championship of the 
first league was won by Barrack I, commanded by Mr. Bloomer, 
and that of the second league by Barrack X, which was captained 
by Mr. A. G. Belmont. There was also a cup competition, which 







A CRICKET MATCH 




A BOX INC BOUT 



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 185 

attracted fourteen entries, the final being played by Barracks 
IV and X, of which the former, under the captaincy of Mr. John 
Brearley, secured the victory after a stubbornly contested game. 

The second football season opened on the first Sunday in 
October, 1915, with a vigorous match between Mr. Bloomer's 
XI and Mr. Cameron's XI, and again Baron von Taube kicked 
off. The atmosphere that prevailed that morning is crisply 
described in the Camp magazine report : 

" There was something in the faces of the men, and the air 
and the whole place that was reminiscent of an English bank- 
holiday, a fresh, snug Sunlight soap sort of feeling, with every- 
body looking quite satisfied with the world and himself, but 
careful not to let his feelings get the better of his decorum. The 
weather was ideal, the ground good, and the crowd big : what 
more could the football enthusiast ask ? " 

This opening match resulted in five goals to two in favour of 
Mr. Bloomer's team. Subsequently every barrack, on an average, 
played a first and second league match every four days, whilst 
those who did not play in their barrack teams had ample oppor- 
tunity for unofficial games on a reserved pitch. The rivalry 
between the barracks was exceedingly keen. The notice-board 
of the Ruhleben Football Association, with the punctiliously 
recorded results, was studied as closely as the tables of first league 
matches in England. The Camp magazine published lengthy 
articles on the subject with criticisms, interviews, and retro- 
spects. And the shouts that went up from a thousand throats 
whenever a goal was scored must have alarmed the garrison in 
the neighbouring town of Spandau. 

Cricket naturally had its numerous devotees, in two divisions, 
in the summer, but it did not arouse as much enthusiasm as foot- 
ball, and only when an exceptionally interesting match was 
played did the onlookers, mostly seated in deck-chairs or on 
folding-stools, extend right round the field. There was a canvas 
tent in which the batting side waited, and beneath which the 
official scorers sat at their portable desks, whilst the score was 
shown by means of large white figures hung on a blackboard. 
There were two cricket-pitches, which, owing to the hard nature 
of the ground, were laid with matting, and regular practice was 
also conducted within a net. From the technical point of view, 
much of the success of the game was due to the Secretary of the 



186 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 



Cricket Association, Mr. Nurse, and to the head groundsman, 
Mr. Joe Andrews (who was released in June, 1916). Of the host 
of matches played at Ruhleben the most notable was that 
between Barrack X, which won the championship of the league 
in 1915, and the rest of the Camp. The contest, which was fought 
to a finish, lasted four days, and was followed throughout by a 
large, applauding crowd. The honours of the game were secured 
by Mr. G. L. Crosland, who scored 129 runs in the first and 202 
in the second innings, and who not only achieved the first double 
century, but also the highest score at Ruhleben. The victory of 
Barrack X was in no small measure due to the disposition of his 
men by the captain, Mr. J. C. Masterman ; and in view of the 
profound impression that it created at the time little excuse is 
necessary for giving a full record of the game : 



BARRACK X 



First Innings. 

Harrison, c. Johnson, b. Bloomer 
Crosland, b. Bloomer 
Roupell, c. Haines, b. Bloomer 
Masterman, c. Bardsley, b. Bloomer 
Steadman, c. Johnson, b. Haines 
Belmont, b. Haines 
Anderson, c. Ponsonby, b. Haines 
Dodd, b. Bloomer 
Pentland, b. Bloomer . 
Gilbert, not out . 
McGill, c. Brearley, b. Bloomer 
Extras 



13 
129 

79 
40 

7 

4 

4 

7 

16 

12 

2 

19 



Second Innings. 

c. Haines, b. Brearley . 34 

c. Ponsonby, b. Hartmann 202 

c. and b. Bardsley . . 1 

b. Bardsley ... 7 
b. Hartmann . . .28 

b. Hartmann ... 5 

c. Bloomer, b. Hartmann . 12 

b. Hartmann . . 15 

c. and b. Hartmann . 19 
not out .... 5 
b. Bardsley ... 4 

Extras . . 9 



332 

THE CAMP 

Hartmann (XII), c. Masterman, b. Belmont 47 

Gudgeon (III), c. McGill, b. Belmont . . 23 

Haines (XIII), b. McGill . . . .13 

McNaught (VI), c. Crosland, b. McGill . o 

Ponsonby (III), b. Belmont . . .0 

S. Bloomer (XI), c. Perry, b. Masterman . 66 

Fachiri (VII), c. Masterman, b. Belmont . 2 

Johnson (VIII), c. Roupell, b. Belmont . 51 

Haynes (XI), b. Belmont . . . .6 

Brearley (IV), c. Harrison, b. McGill . . 14 

Bardsley (V) not out . . . . .2 

Extras . . . .19 



243 



c. Harrison, b. Belmont 

b. Belmont . 

c. Dodd, b. Gilbert 
c. and b. Gilbert . 

b. Belmont . 

c. Dodd, b. Steadman 
run out 

c. Crosland, b. Gilbert 
b. Belmont . 
b. Gilbert 
not out 

Extras 



34i 



7 
10 

o 

39 
48 

52 
19 
43 
25 
o 

4 
19 

266 



In addition to the various inter-barrack contests a Lancashire 
v. Yorkshire match, on the model of the national convention, 
was played on August Bank Holiday both in 1915 and 1916. 



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 137 

Between the close of the first football season and the serious 
commencement of cricket an exciting interlude was provided 
by some athletic sports competitions, which extended over a 
fortnight and concluded on Empire Day. There were several 
running contests from 75 yards to a mile, a two-mile walking 
race, a three-legged race, 120 yards hurdles, relay race, high 
jamp, tug-of-war, golf competition, and drill class display. The 
best running was done by a comparative new-comer, H. Edwards, 
who had recently turned seventeen, and who at the Berlin Ofympic 
trials held in June, 1914, ran second (arriving only a second 
later) to Raw, who set up a world's record of 200 metres in 
21 6.10 seconds. At the Ruhleben Sports, Edwards ran 75 yards 
in 11 seconds, 220 yards in 24 seconds, and a quarter of a mile 
in 56J seconds. The half-mile race was won by R. B. Brown in 
2 minutes 16 seconds, and the mile by P. Wright in 4 minutes 
59 seconds. The two-mile walking contest was won in 18 minutes 
52 seconds by W. Gaunt, who, twelve months later, escaped. 
The broad jump was won by McGill at 19 feet 6 inches, and 
O. Groening and W. L. Reid tied for the high jump at 5 feet 
4! inches. The tug-of-war provided some exciting struggles, 
and was finally won by Barrack IV, which had an excellent team 
of big heavy pullers, mostty seamen. The drilling display was 
arranged by Mr. G. Dix, who throughout the summer in the 
mornings conducted a large class of middle-aged men on the race- 
course. All the arrangements for the competitions were modelled 
on those observed at athletic festivals at home. The distances 
were carefully measured ; the competitors wore distinctive 
colours and a prominent number on breast and back ; the 
starting was done by pistol shot ; and the winners and times 
were announced through a megaphone by Mr. Tom Sullivan, the 
champion sculler. The final events on Empire Day were all 
witnessed by the military staff, who were provided with seats 
within the track, whilst the thousands of prisoners crowded the 
grand stands and swarmed along the railing that bordered the 
track. 

Eight tennis courts, separated by nets, were laid out on part 
of the racing-track, for which special rent had to be paid. It 
was impossible for the courts to be laid out in the north-south 
direction, and hence the players had to face the sun and cope 
with the deficiencies of light as well as with the slight slant of the 



138 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

track. Despite these drawbacks there were about two hundred 
players who paid the season's subscription of twenty marks to 
the Tennis Association, besides providing themselves with the 
regulation equipment. The largest number of members were 
drawn from Barrack X, which shone in all sports, owing in great 
measure to the big contingent of university men which it con- 
tained. Play first started in the middle of July, 1915, and two 
months later a tournament was arranged, comprising open 
singles, open doubles, handicap singles, and handicap doubles, 
for which a hundred players entered. The courts were so popular 
that hardly one of them was ever vacant, and members had to 
book their courts in advance on a notice-board, and leave off 
promptly at the end of half an hour to make way for their suc- 
cessors. There were many excellent players, chief of whom were 
Mr. G. K. Logie, a well-known international player (and one of 
the first half-dozen cracks in Germany), and Mr. J. O'Hara 
Murray, who has distinguished himself for the last twelve years 
at the leading tennis tournaments at the Riviera, in Paris, at 
Stockholm, at Homburg, and Queen's. The main drawback 
to the tennis sport was that men without means were excluded 
from it, owing to the high subscription fee and the cost of racket, 
ball, and shoes. 

A similar drawback, though it was felt in a less degree, applied 
to golf, which was played at the far end of the race-course. 
Owing to the field being largely occupied by the football or cricket 
players, the golfers had to keep within limited bounds, although 
those who sallied forth at eight in the morning had the field to 
themselves for an hour. Moreover, the ground was reserved for 
the golfers for a couple of days, now and again, for championship 
competitions. The Golf Club had about 200 members, many 
of whom were professional players, whilst a large number re- 
ceived their first lesson in the game in captivity and diligently 
smacked their captive balls against a net. The moving spirit 
of the club was the secretary, Mr. C. S. Butchart, who had laid 
out many golf-links for German magnates in pre-war days, and 
held the office of Inspector of our Civilian Police Force. In the 
competition for the championship, arranged in September, 1915, 
by Mr. A. Gummery (Royal Golf Club of Belgium), and extend- 
ing over three days (12 holes being played each day), the tie 
between Mr. R. Murray (Dresden and N. Berwick) and Mr. J. B. 



SPORTS AND PASTIMES 139 

Holt (Homburg) resulted in a victory for the former by 41 against 
43 over 12 holes. 

The other sports played on the field were hockey, lacrosse, 
and baseball, whilst the prisoners from Belgium and North 
France indulged in " la pelote," which is also a ball game. Inde- 
pendent groups of prisoners exercised themselves with dumb- 
bells or Indian clubs, or disported themselves upon a parallel 
bar, which was supplied by the Sports Committee. There was 
also a regular Boxing Club, which organised frequent exhibitions 
in the summer in a specially made " ring " — a square wooden 
platform with a rope attached to the four posts. Most of the 
matches consisted of three bouts of one minute each, and some 
effective punching was done by men who had figured in boxing 
rings at home. These exhibitions always attracted a big crowd, 
in which our German guards were often the most interested 
spectators. Other pastimes that had their particular devotees 
were quoits and croquet, whilst at all times of the day one came 
across little parties playing at skittles (mostly made of broken 
chair-legs) in various parts of the Camp. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTION 

An exciting week — Official approval — The three candidates — Borough 
proclamation — Committee-rooms — The Mayor — Nomination proceedings — 
Speeches, meetings, favours — A tumultuous demonstration — Placards and 
posters — Polling-day — German comment. 



- 












THE most remarkable episode in the summer of 1915, 
and, indeed, in the entire annals of Ruhleben Camp, was 
our Parliamentary By-Election. For fully eight days 
the little community of British prisoners of war was seething 
with the excitement of a political campaign, which had all the 
external features but nothing of the serious import of a stubborn 
contest at home. There were three official candidates, with 
their agents, committees, and canvassers. There were com- 
mittee-rooms and open-air meetings, posters and placards, 
sandwich-men and hecklers, ribbons and rosettes of various 
hues ; there were demonstrations and recriminations, scrim- 
mages and disturbances, reckless promises of revolutionary 
reforms and unabashed attempts at corruption ; and there was, 
withal, a thoroughly traditional polling-day, when all the tur- 
moil of the week rose and swelled to a perilous pitch, and the 
peace — and monotony — of the Camp were not restored until 
the result was duly declared by the returning officer amid the 
cheers and counter-cheers of an assembly torn by rival en- 
thusiasms. The story of that election week should appeal not 
only to those who are interested in the psychology of captivity, 
but also to statesmen and politicians, who may wonder how 
so much excitement and bitterness could be aroused over issues 
that were purely fictitious. 

When I first suggested to some of my fellow-prisoners that 
we should hold a mock parliamentary election they shook their 
heads somewhat scornfully, and thought that the heat had 

140 



THE PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTION 141 

affected my brain. But when I reminded them of the success 
that had attended our Mock Trial a few months before, they 
admitted that the political arena might be as fertile in amuse- 
ment as the law court. There were, however, a number of 
peculiar difficulties. A parliamentary election could not be re- 
hearsed or staged ; it would have to run its own natural, or un- 
natural, course. Besides, what would the main questions be 
upon which the contest would be fought, seeing that the most 
vital of all questions — the war — must be rigorously excluded 
from our discussions ? How would the candidates be nominated ? 
And, above all, would the whole affair be allowed by the military 
authorities ? 

The last question was the first that required solution, for with- 
out it all our efforts would be in vain. So I approached the head 
of the English Censors' Department, Rittmeister von Mutzen- 
becher, a genial old officer, who was fully conversant with 
English life and whose friendly attitude towards the prisoners 
at Ruhleben procured his subsequent " promotion " to another 
centre of activity. He readily welcomed the idea, and his 
recommendation elicited the consent of the Acting Commandant, 
Baron von Taube. We were given the use of two boiler-houses, 
which were not required in the summer, for committee-rooms, 
and permission to hold open-air meetings, provided, of course, 
that nothing of a political nature was discussed. All that re- 
mained was to select the candidates, to assign them their respec- 
tive " planks," and to obtain the necessary funds. 

A small organising committee was formed to determine the 
general lines upon which the campaign should be conducted, 
as it was necessary that the total expenditure should not exceed 
the grant of two hundred marks given by the Entertainments 
Committee out of the profits on theatrical performances : a sum 
which, for the first time in the history of British political life, 
was found quite adequate to cover all the known and unknown 
outlay of three rival candidates. As we had no political party 
associations the candidates had to be selected and " coloured ' 
by a sort of mutual arrangement. The Conservative cause was 
adopted by Mr. Alexander Boss, whose portly figure and monocle 
seemed to have destined him for the part ; as one reared in the 
native city of Bright and Cobden, I readily espoused the interests 
of Liberalism ; whilst the cause of Woman Suffrage — introduced 



142 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

to impart the spice of humour into our womanless constituency — - 
was entrusted to a well-known variety artist, Mr. Reuben Cas- 
tang, who whimsically pleaded that he had never made a speech 
in his life. But before a borough could have Parliamentary 
representation it must have a Mayor, and as it would have taken 
too long first to organize a preliminary election for a Borough 
Council, which would choose its Mayor, we took the law into 
our own hands and appointed as Mayor and Returning Officer 
Mr. Walter Butterworth, of Manchester, who, of all our com- 
munity, had been the nearest to occupying a real Mayoral — or 
rather Lord Mayoral — chair. 

The first intimation that the general public had of the pro- 
jected election was in the form of a big proclamation, issued 
from the Town Hall of the Borough of Ruhleben, and posted 
on the central boiler-house. This announcement, attractively 
written in Gothic characters, crowned by the Ruhleben coat-of- 
arms, and adorned at the base by an imposing red seal, was 
addressed " to the Burgesses and Ratepayers of Ruhleben," and 
stated that " whereas the Burgesses of the ancient and honour- 
able Borough of Ruhleben, by virtue of their numbers and their 
importance, both jointly and severally, are fully worthy and 
entitled by right, law, and tradition to be represented in the 
House of Commons, where their views, opinions, and interests 
should receive meet and suitable expression, and whereas a 
vacancy for the Parliamentary representation of the afore- 
mentioned Borough has been and is hereby declared, in accordance 
with the laws, usages, and customs of the Realm, be it hereby 
known that three most trusty liege subjects have been duly and 
properly named and nominated as candidates for the said repre- 
sentation of the ancient and honourable Borough." The pro- 
clamation gave the names, occupations, and addresses of the 
three candidates, and called upon them to present themselves 
at a meeting of the Burgesses in Ruhleben Town Hall, " where 
they shall, with all due form and ceremony, unfold and expound 
their respective programmes and policies," and subsequently to 
" use, employ, and exercise all lawful means and methods within 
their power (subject to the by-laws, provisions, and limitations 
of the Parliamentary Act, Vic. lix, sec. iv, cap. xxxv, § xix, a, p, 
and z, and subject likewise to the by-laws and regulations in 
force in the Borough) to procure, secure, obtain, and retain the 








ft 



^ 



THE MEN'S CANDIDATE" 



A POPULAR POSTER 




ELECTION SCENES 






< 



THE PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTION 143 

support and suffrages of their fellow-Burgesses." This document 
attracted large and curious crowds, who were particularly amused 
by the coat-of-arms, which embodied the principal symbols and 
tokens of Ruhleben life ; quarterings, dinner-bowl, black loaf, 
sausage, and cleg ; supporters, a cat and a mouse ; motto, 
" Dum spiro spero," and as the crown and summit of all, a typical 
British check cap. Most curious of all was the German censor's 
stamp, " Freigegeben," at the foot of this proclamation. 

As there were only two " committee-rooms " for three candi- 
dates, our agents decided on their possession by spinning a coin, 
which resulted in a preliminary defeat for Woman Suffrage. 
But the members of the " Phcenix Club " at once came to the 
rescue of the unhappy candidate by placing their shed at his 
disposal. Before the boiler-houses could be used they had to 
be cleared of a lot of miscellaneous rubbish, and they then formed 
the scene, not so much of political discussion, as of rival poster- 
printing and caricature drawing. Each of these sheds was 
adorned with a large inscription, " Liberal Committee Room " 
and " Conservative Committee Room ' respectively ; though 
two red flags fixed on the roof of the Liberal room had to be 
pulled down, for fear they would be misunderstood by the troops 
that travelled within view. 

The formal adoption of the candidates took place at a crowded 
meeting on a broiling July evening in the Grand Stand Hall. 
Each of the candidates sat on the platform, surrounded by his 
respective supporters. Mr. Boss, wearing an expansive blue tie, 
gazed through his monocle with an autocratic air upon the 
serried throng, his supporters having, like himself, adorned their 
button-holes with blue ribbon. The Suffrage candidate, who is 
normally shaven, had adopted a monstrous drooping black 
moustache ; and he was encircled by a group of suffragettes 
whose hats, frocks, and faces were calculated to spoil his chances 
irredeemably. As it had been rumoured that the Suffragettes 
were to be arrested on a charge of husband-desertion and might 
be removed by the police from the platform, they were securely 
tied to their chairs and to the iron columns supporting the roof. 
As for myself, I donned a khaki suit for the occasion, with a 
dazzling red tie, whilst my supporters and I wore red rosettes. 

The Mayor of Ruhleben, clad in a black robe edged with red 
muslin and proudly wearing a rusty chain of office, opened the 



144 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

proceedings in a business-like speech, in which he called atten- 
tion to the flourishing state of the arts and sciences, of industry 
and commerce, within the confines of the Borough, and argued 
that it was only right that the people who had suffered for their 
country so many months, and displayed such deeds of heroism 
every dinner-time, should at last be rewarded with a representa- 
tive of their own in the House of Commons. The order in which 
the candidates and their supporters addressed the meeting was 
decided by lots. First came Mr. Tom Sullivan, who, in nominat- 
ing Mr. Boss, paid a tribute to his excellence in all kinds of 
sports, such as racing, boxing, skittles, and dominoes. Mr. 
Boss based his claim to the suffrages of Ruhleben upon his 
fictitious estate in Surrey, and upon his promise to introduce a 
large number of reforms and improvements in the Borough, 
such as an electric railway. I was nominated by Mr. W. Stern, 
J. P., of Manchester, and outlined a programme comprising a 
four hours' day, old age pensions at forty, the municipalization 
of the beer supply, and a compensation of £1000 per annum 
for all men interned at Ruhleben. Mr. Fred Pentland, the pro- 
fessional footballer, in nominating Mr. Castang as the Woman 
Suffrage candidate, described him as the All-England champion 
at tiddley-winks, and was interrupted by frequent cries of 
" Votes for women ! " Mr. Castang soon made it clear that he 
was less concerned about the women's lack of votes than about 
the Camp's lack of women, and he declared that if the men 
wanted their mothers, wives, or sweethearts, they would give 
him their solid support. Most of the speeches were interrupted, 
not only by cheers and counter-cheers, but also by the singing 
of that strange refrain : ' There was a cow climbed up a tree, 
Oh, you blooming liar ! " which was intended as a reflection upon 
the veracity of the statement it followed. 

For the next six days the Camp was in a veritable turmoil. 
There was a big display of favours and ribbons, blue, red, and 
violet, and the men of each party tried to convert the others. 
Across Bond Street fluttered a long white flag, with the motto : 
" Vote for Boss and Truth, Justice, and Honour." The upper 
part of the boiler-house, facing the military offices, was plastered 
with the inscription : " Vote for Cohen and Compensation," 
accompanied by an approximate portrait ; whilst above the 
middle grand stand was suspended a big sheet with a pretty 



THE PARLIAMENTARY BY-ELECTION 145 

girl's face and an exhortation to vote for Castang. The party 
meetings, one of which was attended by Rittmeister von Mutzen- 
becher, were full of boisterous fun, but they were spoiled by the 
unrestrained enthusiasm of juvenile partisans, who tried, with 
mouth organs and tin-box drums, and with the choral rendering 
of " Sit down, sit down ! " to the tune of a town-hall clock, to 
spoil one another's meetings. 

The biggest demonstration took place on the evening after the 
nominations, when I addressed a crowd of about a thousand 
from a dust-cart, which was carefully guarded all round by stal- 
wart supporters against rushes from our opponents. On the 
edge of the crowd stood Count von Schwerin and Baron von 
Taube, the former highly amused and the latter with an anxious 
look, whilst a rain of paper pellets was directed against my plat- 
form, and as the opposition grew in sound and strength 1 con- 
cluded my speech, and the cart was dragged away into safety by 
my friends. Then Mr. Boss had an uncomfortable quarter of 
an hour, as he and his supporters, after being pelted with paper 
and dust, were rushed off the barrels upon which they had taken 
up their position, and from which they intended addressing the 
crowd. Mr. Castang was also brought by his partisans into the 
seething throng and likewise given a ride, which almost made 
him regret having consented to stand as a candidate, for hostile 
hands pulled at each leg of his trousers in an opposite direction. 
On the following evening I was carried in a barrack bread-box 
by four sturdy supporters, preceded by my agent, Mr. Albert 
Dannhorn, who, through a megaphone, called upon the public 
to roll up in thousands, and by a dusky musician who played 
on a trombone, " See the conquering hero comes ! " and by the 
time our procession reached the first grand stand there was a 
huge assembly awaiting us. Again our speeches were interrupted 
by our Conservative opponents, and as soon as the latter began 
their meeting there arrived upon the scene the partisans of the 
Suffragette candidate, in the centre of whom was the leading 
" lady " of the beauty chorus of Don't Laugh, the Camp revue, 
most enticingly costumed, so that again pandemonium was let 
loose. 

The subsequent course of the campaign was not quite so 
exciting. The military authorities expressed a desire that the 
demonstrations and noise should cease, but this desire, inter- 

IO 



146 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

preted in captains' language, was that meetings should cease, 
and so no further gathering was held until the following Tuesday 
night, when the result of the poll was declared in the " Town 
Hall." The interval was busily employed in designing and dis- 
playing rival placards and posters, marked by a great deal of 
humour and artistic ability, which formed an attractive and 
amusing picture-gallery on the walls of the central boiler-house 
and the opposite barrack. The polling took place on Tuesday, 
August 3rd, from nine in the morning, in the " Town Hall." 
The barrack postmen kindly acted as polling officers, and biscuit- 
boxes with a slit in the lid served as ballot-boxes. Our police 
were also present, in case of disorderliness ; but nothing more 
serious happened than the attempt of one or two men to record 
a second vote — an offence that was punished with instant and 
ignominious expulsion. At two o'clock the polling booth was 
closed, and the polling officers, with the biscuit-boxes in their 
hands, headed by the Returning Officer and guarded by the 
police, marched to the " Corner House," where the counting 
took place in the presence of the candidates. 

A large and enthusiastic crowd again filled the Town Hall in 
the evening to hear the result of the poll. The Mayor, acting 
as Returning Officer, announced the figures as follows : — 

Reuben Castang . . . 1220 

Israel Cohen .... 924 
Alexander Boss .... 471 

There were also seventy-four spoiled papers, so that in all 
2689 electors, nearly two-thirds of the Borough, had voted. 
There followed another series of humorous speeches, in which 
emphasis was laid upon the delightful week that had been spent ; 
and then, and for many months after, the elected member, who 
was borne in on the wave of popular desire for lovely woman, 
was teased and tormented daily because of the non-fulfilment of 
his pledge. 

As for the German press, which soon got wind of the Wahlkam- 
pagne in the Engldnderlager, it betrayed its woeful lack of humour 
by declaring that our by-election was organized as a protest 
against the British Government for entering into the war ! 



CHAPTER XVI 

INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES 

Arts and Science Union — Lectures and studies — Attitude of authorities — 
Origin of Camp School — Study of languages — School-premises and class-rooms — 
Departments and faculties — Management and maintenance — " Circles " — 
Libraries — Literary and Debating Society — Periodicals and publications. 

WE had not been interned many weeks before a notice, 
penned by an academic fellow-prisoner, appeared on 
the boiler-house, inviting all university graduates 
to meet one afternoon in the Grand Stand Hall. There gathered 
together in the cold and draughty hall about forty men, whose 
ages ranged from the twenties to the fifties, and who comprised 
representatives of a number of British and German universities 
and of the most varied faculties. The object for which we were 
summoned was to discuss means for prosecuting private study, 
proposals for arranging public lectures, and the securing of facili- 
ties for engaging in creative work. An organization, entitled the 
" Arts and Science Union," was established, with officers and 
committee, for the purpose of carrying out our recommenda- 
tions ; but we knew full well that the realization of such a task 
in a concentration camp was no easy matter. The committee 
applied to the military authorities for the use of a room, or for 
a part of the hall that could be partitioned off, in order to enable 
students who had been interrupted in their examination 
preparations to continue their work, and likewise to enable 
professional men to keep abreast of their particular branch of 
activity. The response was chilling ; the military authorities 
declared that, owing to lack of accommodation, they could not 
grant the request. Hence the ideal of the Arts and Science 
Union during the first winter was doomed to be merely a pious 
aspiration. 

But with the advent of spring a series of popular as well as of 

147 



148 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

scientific lectures, upon a variety of subjects, was arranged in 
the Grand Stand Hall upon one or two nights a week, and an 
audience of a few hundred always assembled and listened atten- 
tively. The themes were drawn from philosophy, science, art, 
literature, history, and the drama, and the lecturers were uni- 
versity men. Upon the arrival of summer most of the public 
lectures were delivered in the open air on the third grand stand, 
and the members of the audience brought their chairs with 
them. The subjects and dates were always announced in advance 
by attractive posters, and occasionally a course of several lectures 
was given on the same subject. We had discourses on Chinese 
customs and wireless telegraphy, on soap manufacture and 
Diesel engines, on Russia and Mexico, on the history of musical 
development and the by-products of coal distillation. By far 
the most popular course was that on the growth of England, by 
Mr. J. C. Masterman, who attracted a large and mixed audience 
every Friday morning throughout the summer. The problem 
of finding accommodation for students was solved by utilizing 
the synagogue and the betting cubicles beneath the first grand 
stand. The synagogue was furnished with a number of small 
folding tables and chairs, and was used for private study when 
not required for religious services or classes. The " cubby- 
holes '" were boarded up and provided with a glazed window 
so as to secure privacy, and as there were only about eight 
altogether, they were each assigned to groups of four, and after- 
wards even six or eight prisoners, owing to the large number who 
wished to avail themselves of the facility. The cost entailed 
by these arrangements was borne by the Camp Fund, though 
part of it was defrayed by the small charge made for admission 
to some of the more important lectures. The military authorities 
did not spend a single penny on these improvements, nor, indeed, 
on any of the others to be presently described. On the contrary, 
permission had to be begged repeatedly for the carrying out of 
the most elementary requirements, and the authorities, to the 
last, refused to allow any electric lighting or steam-heating to 
be fitted up in the " cubby-holes." Yet whenever any dis- 
tinguished or undistinguished neutral visited the Camp, the 
authorities proudly pointed out the results of the prisoners' 
efforts, and took all the credit to themselves. The main share 
of the credit, so far as the initial impetus to intellectual activity 



INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES 149 

was concerned, was due to Mr. H. S. Hatfield, the virtual founder 
of the Arts and Science Union. 

A far more important and elaborate educational organization 
was the Camp School, which had its origin in primitive be- 
ginnings, and was the product of unremitting enthusiasm and 
systematic labour. Soon after our internment many men, who 
refused to lend an ear to the delusive rumours of an early release, 
resolved to make the most of the abundant leisure that had been 
thrust upon them, by devoting it, as well as they could, to intellec- 
tual improvement. The most popular form which this assumed 
was the study of modern languages, a task that was greatly 
favoured by the polyglot character of our community. Those of 
an independent turn of mind ground their way through an Otto's 
Conversational Grammar alone and unaided ; but, for the most 
part, the student of languages procured a teacher by means of 
an autograph advertisement affixed with drawing-pins to the 
wooden wall of the boiler-house. There was no lack of 
tutors — Berlitz teachers long resident in Germany, and 
professional teachers and university men on a holiday from 
England. So ardent was the enthusiasm for language study 
that men would learn declensions while waiting in the queue 
outside the canteen or parcels office, or prepare their trans- 
lations in the grand stand hall before the curtain went up on 
the play. 

The study of languages was conducted partly on the basis of 
exchange, English for German, Spanish for French, and so forth ; 
but most of the would-be students had nothing to give in ex- 
change and had thus to pay a fee, which, in view of the prevailing 
conditions, was naturally small. Many of those in the latter 
category were unable, however, to pay anything, and thus their 
needs had to be met by a voluntary organization. A small com- 
mittee of public-spirited men set to work to find teachers who 
were willing to give their services gratuitously, and they obtained 
the co-operation of a large number of fellow-prisoners who were 
qualified to give instruction not only in languages, but also in 
science, philosophy, mathematics, and other subjects. Several 
hundred pupils were enrolled and divided up into small classes, 
and the instruction was given in various places — in the quiet 
corner of a loft, in a box temporarily vacated by its inmates, in 
the little synagogue, and, when the spring advanced, in the 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

open air on the third grand stand. A fresh lease of life was 
given to the school when half of the loft of Barrack VI had to 
be cleared in the summer of 1915 and was allowed to be used 
for educational purposes ; whilst six months later the other 
half of the loft was also made over to the school. But to what 
an extent this loft was suitable for such a purpose may be con- 
cluded from the fact that it was condemned by the American 
Ambassador at Berlin as unfit for habitation. 

The Ruhleben Camp School, by the autumn of 1916, had 
grown into an imposing institution. It had a total of 1400 
students, who were divided into 300 classes and taught by 200 
teachers. The ages of the students ranged from seventeen to 
fifty-five, and father and son were often members of the same 
class. The bulk of the educational work was concentrated in 
the loft of Barrack VI, which had been partitioned off by the 
teachers themselves into an office, lecture-room, twelve small 
class-rooms, and a laboratory. The walls and ceiling had been 
whitewashed so as to brighten the dingy rooms, and the windows 
had been enlarged — at the expense of the students. Until the 
class-rooms were furnished with desks (made in the handicrafts 
department) the students had to bring their own chairs or stools 
with them ; and those favoured with tall figures had to bow 
their heads as they made their way to their room, thus gradually 
developing the student's stoop. There were also four class- 
rooms in the Y.M.C.A. Hall, which was opened on Christmas 
Eve, 1915, and the synagogue was likewise used for two hours 
every morning for teaching purposes. 

The school consisted of twelve departments, each of which 
had a representative on the School Committee. Four depart- 
ments were devoted entirely to languages, four to various sciences, 
and the remaining four to arts, music, commercial subjects, and 
handicrafts. The first department embraced forty-three classes 
in English, German, and Celtic, and some of the classes were 
specially formed to enable prisoners whose mother-tongue was 
not English to acquire a knowledge of the language. The French 
department was the largest of all, comprising fifty-three classes 
with thirty-nine teachers and nearly 300 students. The Italian 
department had thirteen classes, whilst the fourth language 
department embraced twenty classes in Spanish, fifteen in Rus- 
sian, two in Dutch, one in Danish, and two in Portuguese. All 



INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES 151 

these classes were carefully graded, and the number of students 
in each was limited to ensure proper individual attention. 

The department for mathematics was very comprehensive, 
whilst the arrangements for the teaching of the physical and 
biological sciences were, in relation to the local circumstances, 
truly remarkable. The laboratory, with its benches, tables, 
shelves, and cupboards, was fitted up entirely by the teachers 
and students. The class in practical botany, which was similar 
to any first year's university course, was conducted by Mr. A. E. 
Lechmere, D.sc. (London and Paris), who at the outbreak of 
the war was conducting on behalf of the Bavarian Government 
an investigation into certain plant diseases, and by Mr. M. S. 
Pease, b.a. (Cantab.), and it was regularly attended by twenty- 
one students. All the living material required was obtained 
from the pond in the centre of the race-course, which contained 
a very good variety of flora and fauna. Conifers and ferns were 
also sent by Professor von Tubeuf, of Munich, and algae, mosses, 
etc., by Professor Seward, of Cambridge. 

In practical physics an elementary course was arranged by 
Mr. F. H. Smith, b.a. (Cantab.), who was the first at Ruhleben 
to illustrate his lectures with experiments carried out with 
apparatus made in the Camp, such as a magic lantern, optical 
bench, galvanometer, etc. Lectures in agricultural chemistry 
were given by Mr. Dickson, whose students were mostly practical 
gardeners ; on physical and inorganic chemistry by Mr. A. 
Wechsler, B.sc. ; and on organic chemistry by Mr. R. Croad, 
B.sc. A special class in chemistry for engineers was held by 
Dr. J. W. Blagden. 

The engineering department was likewise comprehensive, 
including tuition in machine construction, applied mechanics, 
electrical engineering, and ship construction, and comprising 
many classes that covered the requirements of the London 
University for the intermediate and final B.sc. (Eng.), and of 
the Institutes of Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineers. 
Owing to the large number of seafaring men in the Camp, there 
was a separate department for nautical subjects, presided over 
by Mr. S. A. Henriksen, and comprising classes in navigation, 
signalling (Morse and semaphore), seamanship, naval architec- 
ture, and ambulance work. In this department the men were 
prepared for the certificates of second mate, first mate, master 



152 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

and extra-master, whilst the marine engineers were also working 
for certificates. The Board of Trade has granted the concession 
that for every five weeks' attendance (of nine hours a week) at 
the school, one week will be allowed towards sea-service up to 
a maximum of three months, a similar allowance to that granted 
for time spent at the Marine Technical School. Altogether over 
one hundred seamen attended these special classes. 

The arts department comprised classes in constitutional and 
political history, philosophy, Latin, Greek, painting, and draw- 
ing. The department for music was presided over by Mr. E. L. 
Bainton, director of the Newcastle Conservatory of Music, and 
had sixty students in various classes for vocal, instrumental, and 
theoretical work. The commercial department comprised classes 
in book-keeping, business correspondence, shorthand, type- 
writing, commercial geography, and political economy, and 
lectures on special industries (cotton-spinning, hosiery, soap- 
manufacture, chemical trade, etc.). The twelfth department, 
devoted to handicrafts, included sixteen classes in joinery, 
wood-carving, book-binding, art metal work, pattern-making, 
and fancy leather work. 

The management of the school was in the hands of a com- 
mittee, consisting of the twelve representatives of the various 
departments, a representative from the Captains' Committee 
(Mr. S. Asher), and the following officers : Mr. A. C. Ford, 
chairman ; Mr. A. Ribton-Turner, treasurer ; and Mr. H. E. 
Truelove, secretary. The total expenditure for nearly the whole 
of the year 1915 was only 3000 marks (£150). Until the spring 
of 1916 the requisite funds, both for appliances and for paying 
some of the teachers, were obtained from the British Relief 
Fund, through the American Embassy in Berlin ; but when 
this source was closed against education, a public meeting was 
held in the Camp, with the result that 1500 marks were raised 
by voluntary subscription for fresh equipment, and it was 
decided to fix a voluntary fee of one mark per month for each 
student. The payment of these monthly fees began in the middle 
of March, 1916. 

The hours of instruction were from eight in the morning until 
eight in the evening, with a midday interval from eleven till two, 
during which the rooms were used for musical practice. About 
a third of the school staff were professional teachers, though the 




PHYSICAL LABORATORY 




ENGLISH CLASS- ROOM 



great majority of the others too had sufficient academic qualifi- 
cations for their respective subjects, and many of them were 
students in some class or other. A certain number of the 
teachers were given a weekly honorarium, the maximum being 
five marks. The students were drawn from all sections and 
strata of the Camp, and many of them were working for the 
examinations of the Royal Society of Arts and the London 
Chamber of Commerce, as well as for the London Matricu- 
lation, which were first held in the summer of 1916. 

Independent of the school, but supplementary to its activity, 
there were a large number of " Circles," which met to discuss 
original papers or addresses delivered by members. The French, 
German, Spanish, and Italian Circles practised conversation and 
read together classics of the respective languages ; whilst the other 
Circles were the historical, science, technical, engineering, nautical, 
banking, and social problems Circles. One of the most popular 
Circles was that devoted to English literature, in which a prefer- 
ence was shown for contemporary writers ; and the Scotsmen 
had their own particular conventicle for the cultivation of 
Scottish literature and music. Most of these Circles met in one 
of the class-rooms of the loft of Barrack VI, or in one of the 
rooms of the Y.M.C.A. building. The research necessary for the 
preparation of the papers was considerably helped by the well- 
selected reference library, which was also housed in one of the 
rooms of this building, and was under the control of Dr. M. 
Ettinghausen. The 5000 volumes which it contained were all 
sent from England, thanks to the efforts of the Board of Educa- 
tion and many friends, and they included up-to-date works in 
all branches of knowledge — history, philosophy, political science, 
economics, law, literature, archaeology, philology, and natural 
science. Books could be borrowed as well as read in the reference 
library, but unfortunately the room could not accommodate 
more than a dozen at a long table, and as there was only a thin 
dividing wall, one was often disturbed by the playing of the 
organ or the delivery of a homily on the adjoining platform. 
There were also collections of technical works — on languages, 
science, etc. — in the various class-rooms ; and, most popular of 
all, there was a general lending library of about 6000 novels, 
mostly in English, but also some in French and German, with an 
efficient staff of voluntary librarians, under the command of 



154 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Mr. J. H. Platford, who periodically issued supplementary cata- 
logues and attended to the hundreds of borrowers that lined up 
every morning, and exacted from them small fines if the books 
were returned after the allotted time. 

For the popular discussion of interesting questions we had 
our literary and debating society, which was the first society to 
be founded in the Camp. The first chairman was Professor 
Sefton Delmer, of Berlin University, who was released in March, 
1915 ; the second was Mr. Edward Falk, District Commissioner 
in Nigeria, who escaped in July, 1915 ; and the third was myself. 
Our weekly debates formed one of the most popular features 
of Camp life, and they were generally attended by audiences 
ranging from five to eight hundred. Originally our subjects had 
to be submitted to the censorship of the Captains' Committee, 
who, feeling the heavy burden of responsibility, would not allow 
us to discuss Socialism, Trade Unions, or the Nationalization of 
Railways, for fear that we might offend our hosts and cause the 
suppression of further debates. But despite this censorship, 
from which we emancipated ourselves after some months, we 
found a large variety of topics — drawn from the most varied 
spheres of human interest — though it was not always easy to 
find speakers to open on one side or the other. We not only 
debated such traditional themes as the taxation of bachelors, 
the abolition of capital punishment, and woman suffrage, but 
also whether the progress of civilization produced a commensurate 
increase of happiness, whether the East had more to learn from 
the West than the West from the East, and whether man's 
character was influenced more by environment than by heredity. 
Our meetings were conducted in perfect accordance with all the 
customs and traditions of public debates, and at the conclusion 
of the arguments, in which speakers of all sorts, eloquent and 
halting, witty and dull, took part, the chairman always put the 
question to the vote, declaring a tie if the sides seemed evenly 
balanced. Sometimes we had impromptu debates, and occa- 
sionally we devoted the evening to a literary address or the 
telling of anecdotes. We honoured Dickens and Christmas by 
the reading of the " Christmas Carol " ; we pleased our sea- 
faring friends by holding a nautical evening, with a programme 
of song, anecdote, recitations, and instrumental music, all of 
the sea ; we celebrated Empire Day with suitable addresses ; 



INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES 155 

and we held a speech competition for the encouragement of 
budding orators. 

The intellectual activity of the Camp also found an outlet in 
the issue of various periodicals and literary publications. There 
were murmurs of disapproval when, a month after our intern- 
ment, it was first rumoured that a magazine was to be printed, 
as it was feared that such a publication would be interpreted 
as a sign of our contentment. The first periodical, The Ruhleben 
Camp News, could hardly have encouraged such a view, as it 
was a rather feeble and amateurish production, consisting of 
a few typewritten sheets, and largely made up of official announce- 
ments. It was so poor that a rival, The Oracle, was soon started ; 
but both of them were doomed to die in infancy. The first 
presentable magazine, In Ruhleben Camp, appeared on June 6, 
1915, after camp life had developed sufficiently to provide regu- 
lar material for a periodical. It was a publication of thirty-two 
pages, printed in Berlin, and it contained reports on the football 
season, sports, concert season, debating society, and dramatic 
performances, besides Church notices, gossip, and official 
bulletins, as well as a witty poem on " The Seven Ages of a 
Kriegsgefangener," some well-drawn illustrations, and numerous 
advertisements. In Ruhleben Camp first appeared fortnightly, 
and then monthly, the last and tenth number of the series being 
the " Xmas Number, 1915," which appeared a month late. The 
price was at first twenty pfennige, but this had to be raised to 
thirty. The letterpress, besides the usual reports on sports, 
plays, concerts, and debates, generally included a storyette or 
sketch of Ruhleben interest, an interview with a Camp celebrity, 
some more or less humorous poems, gossip, official notices and 
letters to the editor. One of our poets essayed an " Omar Khay- 
yam at Ruhleben," in which he sang : — 

" Wake ! For the Glories of the Rising Sun 
Remind us of another Day begun. 

There is the old routine to live again, 
The weary round before the Day is done." 

* * • ♦ 

" A wondrous, motley crowd are we, and queer, 
Made more so, possibly, in the long year 
Of tedious Trivialities and Talk, 

Sans Wine, sans Cash, sans Women, and sans Beer ! " 

* * * * 



156 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

" Come, fill your Pipe ! What boots it to lament, 
And fill with sighs the spacious Firmament ? 

Anticipation aggravates the ill. 
To-morrow comes not till to-day is spent ! 

" Alike for those who dwell within the Past, 
And those who after unknown Morrows cast, 

The Time is Now, — to pass it as we may, 
Until Deliverance shall come at last ! " 

This philosophical attitude towards captivity was the dominant 
note in every issue of the magazine, which was, moreover, con- 
siderably brightened by the lively drawings and caricatures of 
several Camp artists, notably Messrs. H. B. Molyneaux, Robert 
Walker, and H. M. Mist. In the spring of 1916, In Ruhleben 
Camp was succeeded by a fresh series, The Ruhleben Camp Maga- 
zine, which appeared monthly under the editorship of Mr. L. E. 
Filmore ; and shortly afterwards a French magazine, La Vie 
Francaise, started its career, on a somewhat humbler scale, 
under the direction of Mr. H. A. Bell. There was also an Italian 
periodical, II Messaggero, edited by Mr. M. Cutayar, but this 
was typed in the Camp, and its circulation was confined almost 
entirely to the teachers and students of Italian. All these 
various periodicals passed through a twofold censorship before 
publication, first that of the Education Committee, and secondly 
that of the military authorities. 

In addition to these magazines we also had occasional publica- 
tions, such as the thirty-two paged souvenir of The Ruhleben By- 
Election, in which that notable contest was faithfully and humor- 
ously chronicled with the aid of most of the cartoons and 
caricatures displayed on the occasion ; and the fifty-six paged 
Prisoners' Pie, an illustrated literary miscellany, edited by 
Messrs. A. R. Cusden and R. Herdman Pender, with contributions 
— literary, artistic, and musical — from twenty-five fellow- 
prisoners. The letterpress of Prisoners' Pie, for which our 
Supermen were mainly responsible, was almost entirely made 
up of essays, sketches and poems, that had not the remotest 
allusion to Ruhleben, and some of the poems were the fragmentary 
products of futuristic singers. 

Finally, mention may here be made of the Ruhlebe?i Daily 
News., a typed English summary of the German morning papers, 



INTELLECTUAL ACTIVITIES 157 

of which a few hundred copies were sold daily to those who could 
not read the Berliner Tageblatt or Vossische Zeitung. An evening 
edition was also published under the name of The Star. The 
proprietor, editor, and publisher of these papers was Mr. L. 
Spicer, who had his " printing works " in a tiny office beneath 
the first grand stand, where he also printed programmes for 
plays, concerts, and sports, and typed letters for his fellow- 
prisoners. 



< IIAI'I !■ Iv XVII 



MUSIC, DRAMA AND ART 



< i. atori ..i .1 1 1 1. . 1 1 hi |.n 1 1 1 1 1. .ih. and M hall Orchestral concorti 

Phi Mimical Society Dramatl ietj production Shakenpi trean rw 

..mi. n. ii, /,■,..■«. ind pantominu Irinh, Kronch, and German produot • 

Stag< cofebritlea \rt < nhtbll loni 



OUR Camp wai rathei fortunate In having •> largi con 
tingonl «'i musician!, acton, and artists, im, .h. soon 
,is ji i».< .urn . i. .1, ii 1. 1 1 w< 1 1. H i ( ..I ii< i(» itay, ii" v i"" 
\ni. * i hi wiih .hi ,i i iii. i'.i ceaiclou and evei changing programme 
<»i « nil i tainmcnl and amusement, ii wai particularly dui to 
i in effort! oi "in musicians and acton, who received no reward 
foi iin ii '..n Imposed labours, and who war! naturally exposed 
to candid criticism, thai w< were able lo maintain a cheerful 
•,|ni 1 1 throughout tin long and weary month! of oui Internment 
Ail thi performances took place In thi Grand Stand Hall, with 
the < ■•'■ ption oi iii« pronv nade concert! given In summi i on 

the In-. I grand Stand, .uul il was seldom indeed lh.it I he kill w.is 

iii 1 1 fiii 1 1 I.. 1 1'. iii inn. i • .i i i.i i it j < hi I oi the n u< i' us ol a bufd i 
in i iii< I i.i ii in peace times had been b refreshment room oi thi 
i.m < inn m was constructed by oui cai penteis an ample stage, 
wiih .i modeit proscenium and adequate wings, and not only 
were there elcctiii footlights, but limelights red, white, and 
blue w< i' (lashed from q box suspi tided from the ceiling above 
tin heads <>i tii< audience All Mm seats, with I he exception oi 
.i few, weri numbered, and they were bought in advance .it 
prices ranging from I wenty to se vent 3 five pfennige (.-.Id i<> h<i | 

.it tin adjoining box office, where plans oi the stalls, circles, and 
pit ui 1. shown II" price Oi il"' unreserved seats Was only 
ten pfennig rhere was seating accommodation i"i about five 
hundred, all on the Mime level, with ii" exception <>i •< row "i 
• 1 1.1 11-. mi .1 slightly raised platform at thareai oi the italli, which 






MUSIC, DRAMA AND ART I 10 

were reserved foi military officers oi the Camp and distinguished 
visitors, Order was maintained by voluntary stewards, and 
■ programmes a penny each " were regularly sold* 

Oui first orchestra, .is already narrated, was organized within 
.1 Few weeks aftei oui Internmenl by Mr, F Charles Adler, who 
conducted .1 concert every Sunday evening throughout tlu* first 
winter, and who performed what, in the circumstances, must be 
admitted to have been a singularly successful achievement, 
rhe orchestra varied from fortj to fifty members, and Included 
.1 good proportion oi professional musicians During t ho first 
Kw weeks we wi re favoured by the presence and playing oi Mr, 
(.ni Fuchs, who was released about Christmas, E914; but we 
soon discovered that there were many othei brilliant instru 
mentalists In oui midst rhe pianists included Messrs Harry 
Field, Lindsay, Norman Hewitt, and Leland Cossart ; the 
violinists, Messrs Riley, Peebles-Conn, Godfrey Ludlow, and 

I eslie Harris . the principal 'cellist was Ml a Dodd ; and our 
vocalists included M< r 1 Bonhote, Proi F Keel, M 
Cutayar, Howie, S 1 Austin, F w Hughesdon, and 11. 1 
Hamlyn rhe first winter's programmes ranged ovei .1 con 

rable field, and included selections from Handel and Wagnei . 
Verdi and Puccini, Beethoven and Bellini, Sullivan and Frederic 

II Cov . we heard Franck'a " [50th Psalm,' 1 the Stanford 
iv Dcum," .1 selection oi English u>ik songs and ballads, and 

Russian balalaika songs rowards the and oi the season .1 grand 
piano was hired in addition to the ordinary piano, and there 
wi • an appreciable improvement in the concerts, rhe Acting 
Commandant and his wife, and very often the Count von Schwerin 
too, were present at most oi these concerts, at the nui oi which 
one oi them would express bis cordial thanks foi the evening • 
entertainment. 

Early in the summei i i t 1 o 1 •> the professional musicians formed 
.1 Musical Society, ' to secure accommodation foi practice and 
study foi the professional musicians and students interned, and 
to organise concerts and othei musical entertainments in the 
Camp.' 1 rhe officers elected were Mi Roland Bocquet, chaii 
man; Mi E l Bainton (Director of the Newcastle Conservatory 
oi Music), vice-chairman; and Mr, Edward Bonhote, secretarj 
it was a long unit" before the society was able to secure special 
accommodation foi musical practice, especially on the piano 



160 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

ultimately, in combination with the artists, it had a wooden 
shed built beyond the barracks at the extreme west of the Camp, 
half of which was used as a musical salon and the other half as 
an artists' studio. Henceforth the conductorship of concerts 
presented an agreeable variety and it was exercised in turn by 
Messrs. J. Peebles-Conn, Bainton, B. J. Dale, J. Pauer, C. 
Weber, E. C. Macmillan, F. C. Adler, and L. Cossart. Mr. 
Peebles-Conn introduced the popular promenade concerts on 
Tuesday evenings, which have already enjoyed two summer 
seasons. Mr. Bainton, who had already delivered an interesting 
course of lectures on European schools of music, with pianoforte 
illustrations, trained a madrigal choir, which proved a popular 
attraction at subsequent concerts. Some of the works performed 
were the compositions of prisoners, including a few written 
among all the distractions of the Camp, notably those by Pro- 
fessor Bryceson Treharne, Mr. Roland Bocquet, Mr. Bainton, 
Mr. B. J. Dale, and Mr. Quentin Morvaren. In addition to the 
Sunday concerts, the Monday evening lectures, which were 
arranged by the Arts and Science Union, were occasionally 
devoted to a musical theme, one of the most successful being 
that given by Mr. H. G. Hunt on Grieg, with a rich array of vocal 
and orchestral illustrations. 

Much more activity was displayed in the dramatic world, not 
only because the production of a play involved much more 
labour and protracted preparation than a concert, but also 
because each play was generally performed on three or four 
successive nights so as to give the majority of the prisoners the 
opportunity of seeing it. But unlike many of the musicians only 
a few of the actors had had any professional experience, though 
most of the amateurs, by the time they leave Ruhleben, will 
begin to feel like real professionals. Most of the plays were 
produced by the members of the " R.D.S." (we were fond of re- 
ferring to Camp societies by their initials), the Ruhleben Dramatic 
Society, in which there were two rival spirits — the spirit of 
edification and the spirit of amusement. The former spirit was 
embodied in Messrs. C. Duncan Jones, Leigh Henry, H. S. Hat- 
field, and N. G. Kapp, who seemed to regard it as their mission 
to uplift the Camp by serious plays ; the other spirit was mani- 
fested by prisoners of less intellectual distinction, who urged 
that our internment had already made us serious enough, and 




THE ORCHESTRA 




THE ART STUDIO 



MUSIC, DRAMA AND ART 161 

that we could not have too many cheerful plays to chase away 
our cares. The result was that we had productions of both 
categories and of various intermediate shades. We had comedy 
and tragedy, farce and problem play, pantomime and mimo- 
drama, comic opera and revue. 

Among the long roll of dramatists whose plays were selected 
for performance there was a notable predilection for living play- 
wrights. Bernard Shaw was the first to be chosen, his Androcles 
and the Lion having been performed — for the first time in English 
on German soil — in the middle of March, 1915, and later, Captain 
Brassbound's Conversion and John Bull's Other Island were also 
successfully produced. John Galsworthy was represented by 
Strife, which was much too sombre for the majority of the Camp, 
and The Silver Box, which was a popular success. Jerome K. 
Jerome contributed The Passing of the Third Floor Back, and 
Conan Doyle, The Speckled Band. We also had, among a host 
of others, such favourites as The Importance of Being Earnest, 
The Private Secretary, What Happened to Jones, Mr. Preedy and 
the Countess, Liberty Hall, and Mary Goes First. Ibsen's Master 
Builder was also produced, not in Mr. William Archer's authorized 
translation, but — such was the spirit of conceit — in a prisoner's 
English translation from a German translation of the original. 
We also had some evenings devoted to one-act plays, one of the 
most successful being an evening occupied by three plays of 
Stanley Houghton. Probably the most notable triumph on our 
stage, from the artistic point of view, was achieved by L 'Enfant 
Prodigue, the pantomimic drama by M. Carre, with the musical 
accompaniment by A. Wormser. It was produced by Mr. H. G. 
Hopkirk, who took the part of the son, whilst the seductive part 
of a light-o'-love was cleverly rendered by Mr. Macmillan ; and 
much of the success was due to Mr. Weber's masterly handling 
of the orchestra. The first attempt at comic opera was made 
with Trial by Jury, in which Mr. A. Welland appeared in the 
difficult part of the Bride, Mr. H. F. Hamlyn as the Judge, Mr. 
Anstey as the Counsel, and Mr. S. Austin as the Defendant. By 
a curious coincidence a number of military officers, who were 
transferred to Ruhleben for a few days on their way from one 
prison camp to another, were the honoured guests at this first 
production of one of Gilbert and Sullivan's operas. 

There was a certain diffidence about the presentation of 
11 



162 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Shakespeare, as it was feared that he would not be entertaining 
enough for the taste of the Camp. The first attempt was made 
in June, 1915, with the Forest Scenes of As You Like It, upon 
which a great deal of labour was lavished. The producer was 
Mr. C. Duncan- Jones, who was popularly regarded as the guardian 
of the poetic muse ; the scenic setting, grouping, apparel, pro- 
cession, and dance were arranged by Mr. Leigh Henry, a disciple 
of Mr. Gordon Craig ; and the musical setting was specially 
composed and conducted by Professor Bryceson Treharne, of the 
University of Adelaide. Although gratifying from an sesthetic 
point of view, the performance did not appeal to the majority, 
and hence Shakespeare was allowed to rest until the following 
April, when his Tercentenary was celebrated upon an elaborate 
scale. Three performances were given of Twelfth Night, which 
was remarkably well acted, three of Othello (in which Mr. Hopkirk 
gave an effective interpretation of the part of the Moor, and 
Mr. G. L. Crosland made a touching Desdemona), whilst two 
intervening nights were devoted respectively to a programme 
of Elizabethan music (in which Professor F. Keel received re- 
peated encores' for his facile rendering of folk-songs) and to a 
literary symposium on Shakespeare's England. So great was 
the enthusiasm roused by the announcement of this Tercentenary 
Festival that, on the day when tickets were first sold, men began 
lining up at the box-office at five in the morning, although the 
sale did not begin until four hours later ; but as friends and box- 
mates arranged to relieve one another every hour or two it was 
not necessary for anybody to wait the whole time in the unusually 
long queue. 

Two popular productions that were wholly created in the 
Camp, both words and music, were the revue, Don't Laugh, and 
the Cinderella pantomime. The book and lyrics of the revue 
were written by Mr. C. H. Brooks, additional lyrics were supplied 
by Messrs. Hugh Miller and S. F. Austin, the music was com- 
posed and arranged by Mr. E. C. Macmillan, and the producer 
was Mr. John Roker, formerly ballet master at the " Metropol 
Theater," Berlin. The revue was in eight episodes, and its dis- 
tinguishing feature was a " beauty chorus," which was a tribute 
to the wondrous power of costume, paint, and powder in trans- 
forming a number of athletic youths into a bevy of alluring 
beauties. The production was rendered topical by the inclusion 




THE PANTOMIME liEAUTY CHORUS 




THE THEATRE 



MUSIC, DRAMA AND ART 167 

hired from a theatrical costumier in Berlin (a member of the 
Society receiving half a day's leave, under military escort, for 
the purpose), but most of the costumes and properties were 
ingeniously made in the Camp out of simple materials. Every 
play was announced several days ahead by illustrated posters, 
and at every performance an orchestra provided music in the 
intervals. There was only one break in this cycle of entertain- 
ment, namely, at the end of the summer in 1915, when the 
musical society and the dramatic societies had a dispute with 
the Entertainments Committee which controlled them and their 
funds, and went " on strike " for several weeks until a com- 
promise was arrived at and they each secured representation on 
the Committee. 

The activity of our pictorial artists could naturally not attain 
such continuous publicity as that of the musicians and actors. 
There were a number of portraitists who worked either in oils or 
crayon, and who were always busily engaged in limning the features 
of their fellow-prisoners or guards. Prominent among them were 
Messrs. B. Schumacher (who had an easel in his horse-box), 
C. M. Horsfall (a prolific producer of portraits in crayon), and 
Gerald W. Tooby (a clever portrayer of types). Mr. H. B. 
Molyneaux designed most of the covers of the Camp magazines 
and other publications, to which he also contributed many 
humorous illustrations ; whilst Messrs. Robert Walker and H. M. 
Mist were particularly successful in depicting the humorous side of 
Camp life. Mr. C. F. Winzer was a gifted disciple of the French 
school ; and other notable artists were Messrs. J. O. Beeston (who 
specialized in stage characters), H. Egremont, A. Healey Hislop, 
W. O'S. Molony, and F. Silberman, each of whom had his own 
particular genre. The first art exhibition was held in a par- 
titioned portion of the Grand Stand Hall in July, 1915, and was 
successfully organized by Mr. E. Hotopf : admission was secured 
on purchase of a catalogue for twopence. There were about 
a hundred and fifty exhibits, comprising portraits, landscapes, 
Spandau sunsets, humorous Camp drawings, imaginative crea- 
tions, a few sculptures, and cunningly designed marble paper- 
weights. The exhibition was thrown open for three days after 
it had passed the military censorship, and many of the objects 
were bought by prisoners. The second exhibition was held the 
following Christmas in the studio which the artists had built in 



168 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

conjunction with the musicians, and proved particularly attrac- 
tive on account of the humorous drawings ; and the third ex- 
hibition, held in April, 1916, which was larger and more varied 
than its predecessors, was likewise a success. There was a great 
sale of works at the two latter exhibitions, the major part of the 
purchase price being taken by the artist, whilst a percentage was 
devoted to the collective expenditure of the studio. The total 
amount realized at the third exhibition was 1000 marks (rather 
less than £50), and many artists had to produce duplicates of 
their works to gratify the demand. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE SECOND WINTER 

Lighting difficulties — Exodus of barrack guards — " Re-election " of captains 
— Candles and smoking in barracks — The first exchange of militarily unfit 
prisoners — My medical examination — Photographed and disappointed — Depar- 
ture of the released — Arrivals from Wittenberg — The Y.M.C.A. Hall — New Year 
celebrations — Winter's rigours — Wanted a recreation room. 

THE departure of summer was signalized for us on Sep- 
tember ist by the hour for bed being put back again to 
nine o'clock, and we settled down with resignation to 
braving another winter. Our yearning for liberty had not 
abated in the least, but we had become inured to the hardships 
of captivity and looked forward to passing the second winter 
with less discomfort than the first, as many of the deficiencies 
under which we had suffered during the early months had, 
thanks largely to our own efforts, been partially remedied. 
The roads in the Camp had been made negotiable, and the large 
hall had been fitted with steam-pipes in place of the primitive 
stoves that had made us feel the cold all the more. The lighting 
difficulty in our horse-boxes and hay-lofts, which had been a 
source of ceaseless irritation, was solved by ourselves, by fixing 
up a series of small pocket batteries, clasped together in a cigar- 
box, over our beds. Some prisoners invested in " Le Clanche ,; 
cells, which were procured through the agency of the Special 
Orders Office, and were prepared by our amateur electricians ; 
others ordered accumulators, which gave light for about a month, 
and were then recharged in the cinema palace at twopence a 
time. We were so grateful to be able to buy light for ourselves 
that we forgot to reproach the authorities for withholding it 
from us. 

We entered upon our second winter with a dual feeling of 
relief and hope. Our relief was due to the removal of our guards 

169 



170 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

from the barracks ; our hope was kindled by the arrangement 
concluded between England and Germany that all civilian 
prisoners found unfit for military service should be allowed 
to return to their native country. The removal of our guards, 
which took place in the middle of September, was decided upon 
by the military authorities, according to their official announce- 
ment, in recognition of our ability to manage the internal affairs 
of the Camp ourselves. It was probably actuated, however, 
by other less generous considerations too : by the wish to pre- 
vent the guards from aiding and abetting us in the violation of 
regulations ; by the fear that we might learn too much from them 
of the distress in Germany ; and thirdly, by the " combing out ' 
among garrison soldiers to find reinforcements for -the Front. 
Our guards left us with unconcealed regret, not on account of 
their affection for us, but because they had to exchange a com- 
fortable for a strenuous and uncertain lot. Several months 
before a military order had actually been issued forbidding all 
but strictly official intercourse between soldiers and prisoners, 
such was the fear of the authorities that the soldiers were being 
" corrupted." But in view of the German soldier's scanty 
rations, it was only natural that our guards should try to supple- 
ment them with our aid. I often saw them searching among the 
cast-off remnants of mouldy bread which we threw into the box 
placed at the entrance of every barrack, to find some pieces that 
were still eatable. They were grateful for the extra black loaves 
of Kriegsbrot that we passed on to them when we received our 
white bread from England or Switzerland ; still more grateful 
for an ounce of butter or margarine, or a few wheaten biscuits, 
or some English cigarettes, or, indeed, anything with which they 
could eke out their own restricted fare. " You have it much 
better than we! " they would say enviously, as their eyes would 
light upon a pound tin of English butter or a plate of potted 
tongue. 

On the day when their exodus took place and our civil 
autonomy was granted, we were lined up in front of our bar- 
racks, and the Acting Commandant, attended by the Captain 
of the Camp, asked the inmates of each barrack in turn whether 
they were satisfied with their respective captain. The only 
response was " Yes," though not all responded ; but nobody 
ventured to dissent, fearing that such protests would be in the 



THE SECOND WINTER 171 

minority and ineffectual. The object of the military authorities 
was soon gained : they could now say that we had confirmed 
in office the captains who had mostly been their own nominees. 
Had they permitted us to carry out an election by ourselves the 
result in many cases would have been very much different. 
Baron von Taube also appeared before us with the heads of our 
police, Mr. Butchart and Captains Alcide and Stewart, and 
admonished us to render them every aid in the discharge of their 
duties and obey their orders. The net result of the change was 
that our guards went to swell the ranks of the sentries who only 
patrolled outside the Camp, whence, if found fit, they were 
subsequently promoted to the Front ; and their cosy rooms, 
which were provided with stoves, were taken possession of by 
the Captains. For a few nights the sentries who always walked 
through our barracks at bedtime, to see that we were all in, 
continued their visits, but soon these stopped too, and again we 
heaved a sigh of relief. A few weeks later, however, a strong 
rumour prevailed that the guards were to be restored, owing to 
cases of smoking in barracks and naked candle-lights having 
been discovered. We suspected that our late guards were 
deliberately maligning us in order to prepare the way for their 
return, but as we received sudden visits at any hour of the day 
or night from various military officers, we realized that the 
authorities were actually concerned about the contravention of 
their vexatious rules. Official sanction was given to the use of 
a special candlestick with glass shade, for which dozens of orders 
were given, but as no candles thin enough could be procured, the 
candlestick proved a white elephant, and we had to resort to 
electric batteries. As for smoking in barracks, it was impossible 
to do otherwise on the long winter evenings, as there was no hall 
or recreation-room in which we could indulge in a smoke ; but 
it was not until the spring of 1916 that the authorities relaxed 
the rule so far as to permit smoking on the ground-floor of the 
stables, whilst continuing the prohibition in the hay-lofts and 
wooden barracks. I also learned that in the spring of 1915 an 
order had come from the Berlin Kommandantur that smoking 
at Ruhleben was to be suppressed altogether, and that it was 
only upon the. threat of Count von Schwerin that he would 
resign that the order was withdrawn. The Kommandantur 
made a second attempt to introduce this order, with a like 



172 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

response from our Commandant, whereupon the obnoxious 
order was finally dropped. 

The rumour that an agreement had been concluded between 
the British and German Governments for an exchange of all 
civilian prisoners who were unfit for military service first reached 
us in February, 1915, and caused a flutter of excitement. But 
as the weeks and months rolled on and we heard nothing more, 
we consigned that rumour to the same place to which we had 
relegated hundreds of other unverified rumours. At length, in 
August we heard that the agreement was actually to be carried 
out, and hundreds of us began to see a glimmer of hope of an 
early release. The sceptics among us cynically remarked that 
nobody who still had the use of his two feet and two hands had 
any chance of being certified as militarily unfit ; but when the 
5th of September arrived and we heard the names of the men 
who were to leave for England on the following morning, we 
plucked up courage and concluded that even some of those still 
possessed of all their limbs might be found unsuitable for soldier- 
ing. Early on the morning of the 6th the first happy batch, 
consisting mostly of men who had been at German health- 
resorts for a " cure," left the Camp and were taken to Berlin 
to entrain for the frontier, and at half-past nine we all gazed 
eagerly at the railway-line opposite until the westward-bound 
train came flying past, and we saw the waving handkerchiefs of 
the released men, which we answered back with a tremendous 
shout. There had been similar scenes on the 6th of every previous 
month, when the men who had passed their fifty-fifth year were 
sent back to England, but on no occasion was the joy so great 
or were the hopes so high as on the 6th of September, for that 
marked for us the beginning of a new era. 

In order to ascertain who wished to be examined by the mili- 
tary doctor, with a view to being exchanged, all the captains 
were supplied with typewritten forms which they distributed 
among those men in their barracks who considered themselves 
ineligible. On the form we had to state our name, age, occupa- 
tion, and the nature of our maladies. The forms were then 
collected and sent to the military office. In determining the 
order of priority, the doctor first selected the cases he had been 
treating for many months, either as out-patients or in the " laz- 
aret," as well as those sent to the sanatorium of Dr. Weiler, in 



THE SECOND WINTER 173 

Charlottenburg. On October 5th a list was posted up outside 
the Captain's office of about thirty prisoners who would " prob- 
ably " leave the next day for England, and on the following 
morning there was a repetition of the exchange of farewell 
greetings as the train sped on to the West. As soon as all the 
urgent cases were disposed of, the captains made selections 
from their lists, usually according to age, and about twelve 
men were sent up from each barrack to be examined by the 
doctor. On the 6th of November the number of men released 
rose to a hundred, and our hopes rose proportionately higher. 

At last, on Saturday, November 13, 1915, I was included in 
a score of men sent up from my barrack for medical examination. 
There was an almost equal number from many other barracks, 
and altogether over two hundred men were lined up on the 
damp, dreary morning outside the doctor's consulting-room. 
We entered ten at a time, stripped to the waist, and were ex- 
amined in turn by the military doctor, Dr. Geiger, a short, 
slight, spectacled man of few words, whose beady eyes seemed 
to pierce us like X-rays when we faced him. When my turn 
came I reminded him of the recurrent attacks of sciatica to 
which I had been subjected, and for which he had given me 
dozens of aspirin tablets ; but he maintained a stony silence, 
calmly and deftly examined me, and then made some mysterious 
mark opposite my name on his list. It would have been unwise 
on my part to have asked him the result of the examination, for 
Prussian officials have their own peculiar way of working. The 
doctor's business was simply to examine us, not to give us any 
information, and any attempt to extract information would not 
have benefited us. 

On the following Wednesday morning the suspense in which 
I had passed the last few days was banished. I received a type- 
written slip summoning me to the Captains' Office at ten o'clock 
to be photographed, and I was overjoyed, for the photograph 
was required for my passport, and that was a sure indication of 
impending release. My friends showered their congratulations 
upon me, and begged me to be sure and call upon their people in 
London. There were so many prisoners to be photographed that 
morning, nearly two hundred in all, that we were snapped three 
at a time, seated in chairs close to one another, whilst a big crowd 
of envious fellow-prisoners looked on, wishing they were also 



174 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

sick. On Saturday, November 20, my midget photographs, 
which made me look ghastly, were delivered, and as I paid 1.50 
marks (eighteenpence) for three 1 thought the sum very little 
as the price of liberty. In the afternoon some clerks from the 
American Embassy in Berlin arrived in the Camp for the pur- 
pose of filling in passports, and as I lined up outside the Captains' 
Office I felt that I was another stage nearer home. Fortunately, 
the passport I had obtained from the British Consulate-General 
in Berlin three years before the war was still valid, so that the 
formalities in my case were soon discharged. Other men had to 
produce their birth-certificate or other documents to show they 
were entitled to a passport, whilst among the pro-German 
aspirants to release there were some who could not even answer 
the clerks' questions in English. 

The next two weeks were a time of suspense, which I found 
even harder to bear than my two weeks in the Stadtvogtei 
Prison. I received a hint from one of the military officers that 
I should not be released on the 6th of December, as I had ex- 
pected, and my heart sank ; from another quarter I was assured 
that my release was certain, and my heart rose again. But when 
the list of a hundred and fifty names was posted up on Decem- 
ber 4 I searched it in vain. I had feared that my fortnight's 
imprisonment constituted a black mark which would deprive 
me of my chance of release ; but as a fellow-prisoner who had 
had five weeks' imprisonment at a much later date for a similar 
offence was included in the list, I dismissed that hypothesis as 
untenable. Or could it be because I was a journalist ? But 
then other journalists had been released. It was useless to at- 
tempt to find out the reason of my continued detention ; and 
as I gradually discovered that there were upwards of eighty 
men who were similarly disappointed, whose record in the 
Camp was blameless, and whose occupation was unimpeachable, 
I came to the conclusion that there was no political or military 
objection to my release and that I must bide my time in patience. 
My case was at least not as distressing as that of some other 
prisoners, whose names were included in the lucky list but 
struck off a few hours later, and one of whom had already paid 
his fare (which was naturally returned). On the morning of the 
5th a huge crowd gathered in front of a roped-off space outside 
the military offices, to watch the examination of the baggage 



THE SECOND WINTER 175 

of the men who were leaving on the morrow, and we were 
astonished to note that they were not allowed to take with 
them any new woollen or flannel underwear or new shirts — or 
any that seemed new — as well as any woollen blankets ; but 
men who, after more than a year's captivity, are on the eve of 
release do not argue with their captors over a shirt or two, and 
they gladly presented the forbidden articles to friends who 
remained behind. The only reason for the prohibition, so far 
as I could gather, was that it was prescribed by the general 
German law against the export of woollen manufactures ; but 
it was monstrous so to interpret this law as to deprive a prisoner 
of war of his underclothing on the eve of his release. At half- 
past six the following morning, although it was still pitch-dark, 
nearly half the Camp was afoot to watch the departure of the 
hundred and fifty lucky men. They marched out, four abreast, 
in four batches, under military escort to the Spandau Station, 
where a special train was in waiting to bear them to the Dutch 
frontier. 

About a week before this happy exodus took place we received 
another batch of prisoners. They were about thirty altogether, 
and they came from Wittenberg. We had never before heard 
that there was a. Camp at Wittenberg, and certainly did not think 
that as late as November, 1915, there were British civilian 
prisoners in Germany in other camps than at Ruhleben. But 
the story that we then heard from these poor fellows of Witten- 
berg, and which did not reach the British public until some four 
months later, made us horrified at the barbarity that was per- 
petrated for so many months under the diabolical cloak of 
Kultur. Our new fellow-prisoners had, for the most part, been 
captured in Belgium and Northern France, and they had been 
in other German camps before they were sent to Wittenberg. 
The terrible privations and sufferings they had undergone in the 
typhus-ridden camp had left traces behind them : they were 
all weak, emaciated, and dejected ; their cheeks were pale and 
hollow, their eyes wore a hunted look, and they spoke of their 
experiences quietly and furtively, as though afraid of spies. 
Never shall I forget the story of the young man who told me 
how he and two chums were taken prisoners together in a town 
in Northern France, and kept together through all the months 
of suffering until he awoke one morning and found them on either 



176 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

side of him, dead in their beds. The sympathy aroused by the 
story of these prisoners from Wittenberg immediately secured 
them a sufficiency of comforts in the matter of food and clothing 
from their new neighbours, and they gradually became accli- 
matized to Ruhleben. 

The approach of Christmas witnessed the rapid erection of a 
large wooden building in the space between Barracks II and XL 
It was the Y.M.C.A. Hut presented to us by the American 
Y.M.C.A., comprising a large hall with a capacity for five hun- 
dred persons, four class-rooms, a reference library, and a small 
room that was used for private prayer and as a vestiary. The 
inauguration took place on Christmas Eve in the presence of 
the military staff, and an English address was delivered by an 
American pastor. There was a Christmas tree too — a cruel 
reminder of the joys that might have been. The new Hut, or 
Hall, as it was more commonly called, was put under the con- 
trol of a special committee, and proved a most welcome boon. 
It was thrown open the greater part of the day for use as a reading 
and writing room, in which no smoking or talking was allowed, 
and it often presented a busy scene of quiet industry when it 
was filled with prisoners seated on their own chairs with port- 
able desks, and doing their " home-work " for the Camp school. 
Popular lectures and concerts were also held in the Hall, generally 
on a Saturday evening, at which, in contradistinction to the 
gatherings at the Grand Stand Hall, there was no charge for 
admission ; and the committee of the school actually organized 
there what was called a " Conversazione," although evening 
dress was not worn nor were refreshments obtainable. The Hall 
was declared to be open to all, irrespective of denomination, 
and that was probably the reason why the authorities com- 
mandeered it on January 27 for the service in celebration of the 
Kaiser's birthday, and kept all prisoners away from it by means 
of sentries until the service was over. 

Christmas was celebrated much more happily than it had been 
in 1914, for most prisoners had received a sufficiency, and some 
even an abundance, of parcels (with a goodly supply of Christ- 
mas puddings), so that a voluntary collection of gifts was made 
for those less favoured. New Year's Eve too was celebrated 
quite merrily by a large number, and in striking contrast to the 
silence and solemnity of the previous year. For although we 



THE SECOND WINTER 177 

all officially retired at nine o'clock, few went to sleep, and as the 
hour of midnight approached those who had kept vigil rose, 
dressed and awoke their neighbours, so that upon the stroke 
of twelve every stable and every barrack resounded with the 
greetings of " Happy New Year ! " 

The winter of 1915-16 was, on the whole, severe, though 
somewhat better borne than the first winter. It began with a 
heavy fall of snow on October 27, which was immediately utilized 
for a snowball fight on the race-course ; and subsequent snow- 
falls were similarly used. But despite the severe frost by which 
we were visited the authorities refused to place any steam-pipes 
in the circulating library and the adjoining " cubby-holes " 
(which were used for study), although they were specially fixed 
in the adjoining parcels offices ; and hence for many days in 
several successive weeks there was a notice posted on the library 
windows : " Closed owing to the cold." The steam-pipes in our 
barracks generally began to diffuse their heat about midday, 
and thus many men made little stoves out of biscuit -boxes which 
they filled with charcoal bricks called " dallies," but whilst they 
warmed their hands they inhaled poisonous fumes. The great 
want in the winter was a large, well-heated recreation-room, in 
which one could talk, smoke, or play games at one's pleasure ; 
and for the lack of which we were compelled to tramp up and 
down on the parade opposite the grand stands, or, if it was wet, 
on the grand stands themselves, until we got blue in the face and 
prayed for the return of summer. 



12 



CHAPTER XIX 

FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 

Germany's scientific menu — Miserable rations — " The first to be starved " — 
Begging and stealing bread — Dr. Taylor's sensational reports — The Casino- 
Canteens and parcels — Maladies and medical treatment — Convalescent Barrack 
— Unpleasant consultations — Revierstube and Lazaret — Charlottenburg Sana- 
torium — Dental surgery — Eye troubles — Physical changes — Deaths. 



T 



K~ ~^HE laws of nations prescribe that prisoners of war shall 
be adequately fed by the State in whose power they 
happen to be. This rule was, from the very beginning, 
grossly ignored by the German Government in its treatment of 
the civilian prisoners at Ruhleben. The diet supplied to the 
prisoners of war in Germany is regulated and determined by a 
special department of the Prussian War Office, which is under 
the control of Professor Backhaus ; but although the daily 
menu may be scientifically unimpeachable, it fails to take certain 
essential human considerations into account. It is based upon 
an estimate of the number of calories required for human sub- 
sistence ; but it overlooks such important factors as the 
tastes, habits, and customs of the persons concerned. Even 
if the quantity of food supplied by the military authorities 
for the prisoners at Ruhleben had been sufficient, which it 
never was, the quality and the mode of preparation made it 
unpalatable and unacceptable to the great bulk of the captive 
community. 

It was impossible, even in the palmiest days of the summer 
of 1915, for any prisoner to be satisfied with the official rations. 
A breakfast at seven o'clock, consisting of a bowl of coffee made 
of acorns, without milk or sugar ; a dinner at twelve o'clock 
consisting of a bowl of vegetable soup with bits of potato and, 
if one were lucky, a thin strand of meat or a bone ; and a supper 
at five o'clock, consisting of weak cocoa or " skiiiy," or the mid- 
178 



FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 179 

day soup, varied by a small piece of liver-sausage ; and, for the 
whole day, about ten ounces of black "war-bread' (probably 
so called because it could be used as a projectile) : such was our 
daily fare for the first six months. When the kitchens were taken 
out of the swindling hands of the private contractor and placed 
under the control of the captains there was a gradual improve- 
ment, for the meat was no longer boiled up in the soup and every 
man received a morsel (except on Tuesday and Friday, the meat- 
less days), whilst potatoes were also served separately. For a 
month or two each barrack also received a midget beefsteak 
about once a week, though this article was not quite the delicacy 
its name may suggest. The dinners were often varied or supple- 
mented by rice and prunes, until this dish became a joke even 
on our Camp stage ; and the suppers occasionally consisted of 
dried herrings and potatoes in their jackets. But towards the 
end of 1915 there began a gradual but appreciable decline both 
in the quantity and quality of our rations, which continued right 
down till the following summer, when Dr. Alonzo E. Taylor, the 
medical expert of the American Embassy, made his sensational 
reports. 

That the authorities were not particularly concerned about 
our being properly fed was illustrated by an incident that occurred 
in February, 1915, when there was a serious reduction in the 
ration of " war-bread " — from one-fifth to one-sixth of a three- 
pound loaf. The captains appealed one day to the military 
officer in charge of the stores, Rittmeister von Miiller, to give 
them a few hundred loaves in addition to the fixed ration, in 
order to avert a threatened riot, whereupon that saturnine 
officer replied : " Your Government wants to starve us out. 
Very well then, you shall be the first to be starved out ! ' The 
loaves were not given, but fortunately the captains were able 
to make a collection of pieces of bread in different barracks, and 
thus appeased the clamour of the hungry. The authorities 
actually thought that we were hoarding bread and instituted 
periodical searches in the barracks to find out hidden stores, but 
naturally without avail. It was bad enough for a prisoner to 
have to beg bread from a fellow-prisoner, but a climax was 
reached when bread was stolen to sate the pangs of hunger, and 
a riot broke out in the negroes' barrack, owing to such a case of 
theft, in which a revolver (which had strangely remained undis- 



180 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

covered all the time) and a knife were brandished. It was not 
until we began receiving loaves from England and Switzerland 
that the shortage was alleviated (5560 bread-parcels being re- 
ceived in the month of April, 1916, alone) ; and then the demand 
for Camp bread gradually declined until in the summer of 1916 
there were hardly a thousand men who took it. 

In the report, dated May I, 1916, 1 which Dr. Taylor, after a 
careful personal investigation, drew up, he stated that " the 
food provided and served during the week of this survey was 
not sufficient in any direction to provide nourishment for the 
3700 men concerned, had they been entirely dependent upon 
it." He pointed out the difficulty with which the kitchen- 
inspectors had to cope, as the number of men who fetched their 
dinners fluctuated from day to day, according to the attractive- 
ness of the menu, causing a shortage for the last barrack on the 
day when the expected number was exceeded. Thus, in the first 
week of his investigation, out of the total of 3700 prisoners the 
number of men who fetched their dinners on the seven days 
were 2258, 1980, 2019, 2480, 2235, 1676, and 2380. Dr. Taylor 
also related that he witnessed the opening of seventeen large, 
tins of Brathering, a smoked herring used to supplement fresh 
fish on meatless days : " Five of the tins were distended with 
gas, which rushed out when the tins were punctured. The 
contents of these tins were found to be in a state of advanced 
putrefaction. The contents of the other twelve tins were not 
putrefied, but could not be regarded as in satisfactory condition. 
I believe that this lot of herring should be condemned." Dr. 
Taylor's description of the Camp bread as corresponding " in 
quality, texture and appearance with the black bread served 
in the ordinary beer restaurant in Berlin " is not correct. The 
Camp bread was much inferior in quality, taste, texture, and 
appearance to any bread that I ever ate in a Berlin restaurant 
either before or since the war. 

In his report, dated May 24, 1916, 2 Dr. Taylor pointed out 
that the weekly amount of meat, fish, and potato allotted to the 
prisoners at Ruhleben was much less than that given to com- 
batant prisoners. " It provides per man per week 200 grammes 
(less than 8 ozs.) of fresh meat (including bones). It provides, 

1 White Paper, Miscellaneous, No. 18 (1916). 

2 White Paper, Miscellaneous, No. 21 (1916). 



FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 181 

secondly, 1600 lbs. (800 kilog. gross weight) fresh fish (correspond- 
ing to about 215 grammes per man per week) or 200 grammes 
sausage or legumes. The potato ration is 4000 grammes (about 
8 lbs.) per week per man. Viewing the protein content of the 
sausage and fish as equal in both estimates, it is apparent that 
the military prisoner of war is allotted per week 1150 grammes 
of these protein-carrying foods, while the civil prisoner of war 
in Ruhleben is allotted 400 grammes of the same articles, a little 
more than one-third the amount allotted the military prisoner 
of war. The potato ration of the civil prisoner is less than half 
that of the military prisoner." And in a later report dated 
June 14, 1916, 1 Dr. Taylor pointed out that although the amount 
for food set down in the Ruhleben Camp budget was 2600 marks 
per day, the military authorities had not been permitted for 
some time (presumably by the War Office) to expend this entire 
sum, and that savings " variously estimated between 60,000 and 
200,000 marks " were said to have accumulated. The con- 
cluding advice of Dr. Taylor set forth in detail and with emphasis 
to the British Government, was that a sufficient supply of food- 
parcels, containing an adequate amount of fats, especially 
butter or margarine, cheese, and condensed milk, should be 
sent to supplement the scanty rations, and that the dispatch of 
parcels should be organized and centralized so as to ensure a 
sufficient quantity of food-stuffs reaching every prisoner every 
week. 

In addition to the food supplied by the Camp kitchens it was 
also possible for those with means to obtain meals at the Casino. 
This was used as the mess-room of the officers and " non-coms." 
and a section of it was open to the prisoners. At first it was 
accessible only to those in delicate health, who had to obtain a 
special pass from the doctor ; but admission was gradually ex- 
tended to all who could afford to dine there (a satisfying meal 
costing about three marks), whilst the Camp voluntary workers 
were also supplied there with a free dinner daily at the expense 
of the Camp Fund. The room reserved for prisoners had accom- 
modation for about sixty, and there were small tables covered 
with a white cloth. A red-coloured pass entitled the holder to 
stay in the room for an hour at midday and an hour in the 
evening ; a blue-coloured pass only for an hour in the evening ; 

1 White Paper, Miscellaneous, No. 21 (1916). 



182 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

and every pass gave the holder the right to purchase one glass 
of beer. A sentry was always on guard at the entrance to the 
Casino, and he punctiliously signed his initials on the back of 
the pass, in the square bearing the date of the particular day : 
for each pass was available only for a month, and the back was 
intersected into thirty-one squares. But in proportion as the 
portals of the Casino were widened its menu diminished, until 
most of its frequenters went there only in the evening for a glass 
of lager and a smoke. 

The only other means in the Camp of supplementing the 
rations consisted of the canteens, the stock of which also decreased 
in the second winter to such an extent that at the beginning of 
1916 the two canteens were merged into one. During the seven 
months from November, 1915, to June, 1916, no butter, mar- 
garine, or condensed milk was on sale at the canteen. Eggs were 
sold only once (at twenty-five pfennige, about 3d.), and nobody 
could buy more than one. Fresh milk was sold only for a few 
months, and in a limited quantity, previous to August, 1915. 
It was brought into the Camp primarily in the interests of grow- 
ing lads, of whom about forty or fifty were supplied with a glass 
of milk and an egg almost daily during the summer of 1915, 
not, of course, at the expense of the military authorities, but at 
that of the Camp Fund. The diminution of food supplies at 
Ruhleben naturally made the British Government declare, 
through the medium of the American Embassy, that if the German 
Government could not feed its prisoners it ought to release them. 
But this argument fell on deaf ears. The distress was alleviated 
by the dispatch of increased numbers of parcels from relatives, 
friends, and philanthropic societies in England, the total in May, 
1916, being close upon 40,000 ; whilst the British Government 
also began to send from 600 to 700 parcels daily. Probably at 
no time after the first winter was there a shortage of food sup- 
plies from England, but whilst one-half of the prisoners received 
enough, or a little more, about 250 received practically nothing, 
and another 500 received parcels so rarely that the contents were 
of little help. These inequalities have doubtless been eliminated 
in consequence of the generous action of the British Government. 
At the beginning of April, 1916, a large cooking-range was in- 
stalled (at British expense, of course) in the main boiler-house, 
at which all kinds of baking, boiling, stewing, and frying were 




THE PARCELS OFFICE 




INTERIOR OF KITCHEN 



FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 183 

done under the supervision of a ship's cook, assisted by several 
fellow-prisoners, so that the shortcomings of the military kitchens 
were, to some extent, made good. 

A combination of factors conspired to militate against the 
good health of the Ruhleben community. Herded in stables 
and barracks that were insufficiently heated and lighted, and 
that were always filled with an oppressive atmosphere ; exposed 
to the rigours of winter, to draughts, the dampness of the soil, 
and the evil odours of the latrines : it was inevitable that the 
prisoners, especially those of weaker constitutions and more 
advanced age, should be subject to various ailments from time 
to time. The most frequent maladies were colds, influenza, 
rheumatism in all its manifold manifestations, diphtheria, and 
pneumonia, whilst the first summer was marked by an epidemic 
of German measles. A Ruhleben cold was much more serious 
than an ordinary cold, and took weeks to shake off. During the 
first six months the medical attendance was shamefdlly inade- 
quate. The first medical officer, Dr. Lachmann, was of kindly 
disposition, but his stay was brief, as after two months he con- 
tracted illness himself and died under an operation. His succes- 
sor, Dr. Geiger, was, for about the first six months, not only 
utterly unsympathetic but cruelly cynical to his patients, and 
a prisoner had to feel pretty bad before he sought his aid or 
advice. During the first six months there was only one doctor 
for the 4500 prisoners : he was in attendance in his room for 
two hours, at the utmost, in the morning, after which he left 
the Camp for the rest of the day. No matter what accident 
might happen, or what serious complications might ensue, there 
was no medical treatment possible until the following morning. 
The only deputy of the doctor was an ill-educated Sanitdts- 
Offizier (nursing orderly), who, at the best, might render first 
aid. I well remember the case of a young man who, in the first 
winter, was lying ill with pneumonia and was positively delirious 
in an overcrowded and evil-smelling hay-loft, and who had to 
wait two days before the doctor bestirred himself to pay him 
a visit. The deficient medical service led to the formation in 
January, 1915, of a Good Samaritan Fund by Messrs. Delmer, 
Whitehead, and W. Stern ; and a prisoner with some medical 
knowledge procured an assortment of drugs and began to minister 
to his fellow-prisoners, but he had not continued his activity long 



184 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

before the authorities heard of it, confiscated his medicine chest, 
and forbade him to practise any further. 

Fortunately an improvement came at the beginning of the 
first summer, when the consulting-room was transferred from 
the military offices, where patients had had to stand and wait 
patiently, often for an hour and more, in a cold and draughty 
lobby, to a part of the Schonungs-Baracke (Convalescent Barrack), 
where there was a waiting-room furnished with benches and 
heated by a stove. The new consulting-room was about three 
times as large as the old one, and there was a certain improve- 
ment in the demeanour of the doctor, who was provided with an 
assistant. His first assistant was Dr. Marcotti, who stayed only 
a few months, and his second, Dr. Kapp, both of whom were 
able to speak English well enough for the purpose, and who 
examined their patients without making them feel that they were 
prisoners. As for those who consulted Dr. Geiger, they were 
helped by an interpreter, Mr. Stanley Lambert, who cheerfully 
devoted himself to this work from the very beginning. The 
treatment, no matter what the ailment, consisted almost in- 
variably of aspirin tablets. During my nineteen months' intern- 
ment I never heard of any patient who was given liquid medicine. 
Even in these comparatively improved conditions nobody con- 
sulted the doctor who could possibly avoid it, and I once suffered 
the agonies of sciatica for a week before I overcame my reluc- 
tance to visit him. The unpleasantness lay, not so much in the 
consultation itself as in the prolonged waiting and the un- 
certainty of being treated, for often there were over a hundred 
men waiting, there was only one doctor in attendance, and even 
he was liable to the interruption caused by the visit of some 
guards who had to be examined immediately to see if they could 
be promoted to the Front ; or he might suspend his consultations 
for an hour in order to visit the " lazaret." I once spent two 
and a half hours in the waiting-room before I reached the 
doctor, and my patience was rewarded with a couple of aspirin 
tablets. 

Those who were in a delicate state of health and needed particu- 
lar warmth, quiet and careful attention, were accommodated in 
the Convalescent Barrack, where they were exempt, of course, 
from the usual daily parades. This barrack was divided into 
two parts. The first part was occupied by twenty pairs of beds, 



FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 185 

one above another, the occupants of which were able to move 
about during the day. In the other part, which was called the 
Revierstube, there were generally ten ailing persons who were 
kept under observation, and to whom the doctor had immediate 
access from his consulting-room. Mr. Lambert acted as captain 
of the Convalescent Barrack from the day it was opened, and 
he was assisted by four attendants, three of whom received five 
marks and the other three marks weekly. He insisted on sea- 
weed mattresses, sheets, and pillows being provided for the 
Revierstube, and on suitable nourishment being given to the 
patients and convalescent prisoners, and as the military authori- 
ties would not supply these things they were furnished by the 
captains from the Relief and Camp Funds. Patients in a more 
serious condition were sent across to the " lazaret " or hospital 
at the Emigrants' Railway Station, opposite the Camp. For 
about the first ten months the conditions at this hospital were 
utterly disgraceful. The " wards " were dirty and insufficiently 
heated ; there were no baths, apart from the douches used by 
all prisoners ; there was no special nourishment, and the food 
brought from the Camp kitchens was often cold before it arrived ; 
there were no nurses apart from a German orderly who was always 
brutal, and occasionally drunk ; and the patients had to wait 
upon themselves as best they could. Sick prisoners preferred to 
remain in their horse-boxes or lofts, where at least their friends 
could look after them, rather than be sent to what was only a 
hospital in name, but, to all intents and purposes, was a punish- 
ment cell. Ultimately, owing to the repeated representations 
made by the American Ambassador, many of the evils were 
removed about October, 1915. The cleanliness was improved, 
the patients were provided with sanitary uniforms, and a new 
cooking-range and hot and cold baths were installed. Six 
prisoners were employed to keep the premises clean at a weekly 
wage of five marks each, and four men were employed at a 
weekly wage of three marks each to carry the food across from 
the Camp kitchens, the money being paid, of course, out of the 
Camp Fund. The inmates of the "lazaret" were visited every 
morning by the doctor. 

Owing to the overcrowding of the "lazaret " and the difficulty 
of providing proper treatment for many prisoners, an official 
infirmary was established at Dr. Weiler's Sanatorium in Chariot- 



186 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

tenburg, the populous western suburb of Berlin. 1 There were 
two divisions at the Sanatorium, one in which patients had to 
pay seven (afterwards eight) marks per day, and the other in 
which they had to pay ten (afterwards twelve) marks per day. 
Those who were unable to pay for their treatment were placed 
in the cheaper divisions, and the expense was disbursed by the 
American Embassy from British funds, though the patients had 
to sign an undertaking that they would repay the money as soon 
as circumstances permitted. Those who had means could enter 
what division they pleased. According to all accounts (for I was 
never a patient there myself), the rooms were all very clean and 
well lighted, and the beds were clean and comfortable. In the 
cheaper division there were five or six beds in each room, but the 
rooms were large. The patients had only a small yard, with one 
or two trees in it, for exercise, and as they were unable to go for 
walks they felt the irksomeness of their confinement. In the 
dearer division there were only two patients in each room, and 
they were able to walk about in a pleasant garden of at least 
two acres. Writing on June 3, 1915, Mr. G. W. Minot, of the 
American Embassy, observed : " The patients are all given five 
meals a day, consisting of a first and second breakfast, dinner, 
tea, and supper. These meals are not very large, but they cer- 
tainly afford sufficient nourishment to men who are supposedly 
invalids." 1 Twelve months later I heard from some of the in- 
mates at the Sanatorium that their happiest day in the week was 
when their English parcels, that had arrived at Ruhleben, were 
brought to them. The total number of men that the Sanatorium 
could accommodate was a hundred. At the time when I was 
released it was contemplated, in the interests of economy, to 
give up the use of Dr. Weiler's establishment and to secure and 
convert into a sanatorium a large private house just bordering 
on the Camp. 

During the first few weeks of our internment several men 
obtained a half -day furlough to visit a dentist. The result was 
that a Berlin dentist was commissioned to visit the Camp two 
mornings a week ; but his treatment was defective, owing partly 
to the limited number of instruments he brought with him, and 
his charges were excessive, especially as he often damaged the 
natural and artificial teeth of his patients (as I learned from sad 

1 White Paper, Miscellaneous, No. 13 (1915)- 



FOOD AND HEALTH CONDITIONS 187 

experience). The only satisfactory solution of the difficulty was 
to fit up a proper dental surgery in the Camp, and this was 
accordingly done. The surgery was established in some rooms 
below the first grand stand, and was most elaborately equipped 
and furnished with all the latest improvements. There were 
two separate operating-rooms, besides a third room for a dental 
mechanic. The two qualified dental surgeons who were installed 
there were prisoners, Dr. P. Rutterford and Dr. Sumner Moore, 
who also lived in an adjoining room. The cost of establishing 
the surgery was 8000 marks, and the amount spent upon materials 
was 4000 marks, the money being disbursed by the American 
Embassy out of the British Fund at its disposal. The demand 
for treatment was so great, when the surgery was opened in 
August, 1 9 15, that a list of prisoners was kept in the order of 
application, and each man (unless in pain) had to wait his turn. 
I had to wait six weeks before my turn came and was just in 
time to prevent the development of an abscess owing to the bad 
workmanship of the Berlin dentist. Prisoners were charged for 
treatment and materials at a moderate rate, and those who 
could not pay signed an undertaking to refund the amount to the 
British Government at the earliest opportunity. From the 
receipts 30 per cent went to write off the 8000 marks and 70 
per cent to write off the 4000 marks, and as soon as the entire 
sum is paid off future profits will go to the dental operators. 

Eye troubles were also of frequent occurrence, not only on 
the part of those who suffered before internment, but also of 
many others, who were affected by the dust and dirt that were 
always flying about and by the defective light in the barracks. 
Owing to these causes at least three prisoners (within my know- 
ledge) lost the sight of an eye. An oculist visited the Camp two 
or three times a week and began by charging each patient five 
marks for the first visit and three marks for each subsequent 
visit. Then, repenting of his moderation, he secured the assent 
of the American Embassy and the captains to charge ten marks 
for the first and five marks for each subsequent visit. The 
oculist was a good practitioner, but his charges were inordinately 
high, and he unduly protracted the treatment of each case. For 
these reasons the American Ambassador secured the services 
of another specialist who should visit the Camp twice a week at 
one hundred marks a visit, irrespective of the number of cases. 



188 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

The prolonged internment produced various changes among 
the prisoners. Several of the young ship's boys increased three 
to four inches in height. Most of the men who were stout on 
arrival gradually lost flesh. Many middle-aged men became 
grey-haired or white-haired, and others lost their hair altogether. 
The general undermining of one's constitution is not fully realized 
until after one has been released and is faced anew by the battle 
of life. It is impossible for me to say how many deaths occurred 
as these usually took place in the "lazaret." There was only one 
case of death that occurred in a barrack, namely, that of the 
jockey Lister, who died suddenly early one Sunday morning in 
May, 1916. In most cases of death a barrack captain and a few 
friends of the deceased were allowed, under military escort, to 
attend the funeral, the expense of which was borne by British 
funds. Sad as such occasions were, a wreath was never forgotten. 



CHAPTER XX 

MENTAL, MORAL AND SPIRITUAL FACTORS 

Varied effects of internment — Monotony of daily life — Occupations and 
diversions — Lust for excitement — Betting — Gambling — Drinking — Attempted 
escapes and suicide — Mental derangement — Coarse language — Influence on 
youthful prisoners — Vice — Religious denominations and services. 

THE psychical effects of prolonged internment in a 
prison camp are not uniform : they vary with the 
intellectual calibre, the moral character, and the per- 
sonal circumstances of the persons interned. The mere loss of 
physical liberty is the least of the evils that have to be endured : 
much graver and more injurious are the isolation from the out- 
side world, the restriction and censorship of private correspond- 
ence, the constant brooding upon the uncertain future, and the 
oppressive monotony of the daily life. Married men are naturally 
more seriously affected than single men, for they are always 
concerned about their wives and families, whose cares they 
cannot relieve and whose welfare they picture to themselves in 
gloomy colours. Men who have been cut off from the pursuit 
of their business or profession upon which they are materially 
dependent are racked by a gnawing anxiety that is unknown to 
the prisoner of independent means, for they fear that their 
freedom will also confront them with ruin. And men of middle 
age and beyond, whose valuation of a year of life increases in 
inverse proportion to the number of years yet before them, are 
afflicted by a feeling of melancholy from which high-spirited 
youth is spared. How each individual battles with the difficulties 
by which he is assailed, and either conquers or is crushed by them, 
is a question that is solely determined by the personal factor. 

Life at Ruhleben Camp was unquestionably monotonous 
despite all the local interests we developed in time. Every day 
was like the one before it and like the day after it. The daily 

189 



190 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

round was made up of a series of unexciting incidents that 
followed one another with clockwork regularity in stereotyped 
succession. Rising at half-past six every morning, lining up at 
the tap to get water for a wash, lining up on parade at seven, 
crowding round the parcel lists, lining up at the boiler-house for 
hot water for breakfast, lining up for a newspaper, lining up for 
a parcel, or a library book, or a theatre ticket ; then a couple 
of hours of reading, or study, or sport, or lounging ; lining up 
for dinner, crowding round the postman, lining up at the canteen 
for sugar, or cheese, or sardines, and at the stores for cigarettes, 
and lining up again at the newspaper shed, and again at the 
boiler-house for hot water for tea ; and the evening spent at a 
lecture, or concert, or play, followed by a monotonous peram- 
bulation up and down the parade, until we were roused and dis- 
persed by the fire-bell, and lined up again for the second parade, 
and wandered mechanically back to horse-box or hay-loft, and 
retired at nine : such was our daily programme that was seldom 
varied except by the latest extravagant rumour, or seventy-two 
hours in the cells or " bird-cage " for smoking in a loft. And 
such a programme, day after day, and month after month, and, 
alas, year after year, is apt to pall even upon the most buoyant 
or the most philosophical. For you are wearied unto death by 
the sameness of the sounds and sights, by your friends who make 
the same stale jokes about the war lasting only thirty years, 
and by acquaintances who cynically enquire " How are you 
getting on ? ' You know every face and figure in the Camp as 
though you had lived there all your life. You are familiar with 
evety barrack and canteen, with every shed and store, with every 
road and mud-puddle, with every stone, and hollow, and declivity, 
and drain-pipe, with every shadow and outline throughout the 
area of less than half a square mile. 

The easiest way to kill this monotony was to engage in some 
definite and regular occupation, and the Camp afforded ample 
opportunities for those who sought them. There were, in the 
first place, a number of openings for voluntary or paid workers 
in the canteens and stores, the kitchens, fatigue parties, post 
and parcel offices, captains' and cashiers' offices, school and 
libraries ; or if one wished to entertain one's fellow-prisoners as 
well as amuse oneself, there were theatricals and concerts. 
Artists could draw or paint and musicians could play unto their 



MENTAL, MORAL AND SPIRITUAL FACTORS 191 

soul's content (there was a coloured violinist who fiddled away in 
the wash-house the whole day long) ; whilst students could 
increase their knowledge of any science, art, or language and fill 
the gaps in their pre-war education. Those who thirsted for 
public life could serve on one or more of the three dozen com- 
mittees with which the Camp abounded ; and those who had a 
passion for creative work could find some quiet nook and indite 
a poem, an essay, a sketch, or a one-act play, or compose a melan- 
choly song. The conditions were adverse to any continuous 
or sustained creative work, for the necessary seclusion was 
impossible, and interruptions were all too frequent ; yet the 
inventive faculty was not altogether atrophied. One man 
fashioned a little aeroplane out of tin, wood, and canvas, which 
he flew to the delight of his fellow-prisoners ; another invented 
a game of " water-billiards," played with little oars and balls 
in a water-tank on a billiard table ; whilst we had several clever 
models of horse-boxes and latrines, and the inevitable violin 
made out of a cigar-box. 

But all these things, however novel at first, lost their savour 
with the lapse of time, for they were gradually suffused with the 
monotony that enveloped everything and everybody. Even the 
sports, the concerts, and the plays must not be judged in the 
same light as they would be in a free environment ; they were 
for us not luxuries but necessities, if we were not all to succumb 
to the physical and mental lassitude that overtook so many. 
They never made us forget that we were prisoners or made us 
content with our plight : they simply helped to sweeten an 
hour or two that would otherwise have bored us. True, there 
were men who were so profoundly absorbed in their varied 
occupations that they actually seemed to forget where they were, 
and why they were there. A certain scientist, who did a great 
deal of pioneer work in the organization of studies at Ruhleben, 
was asked one day by a friend what he thought of the war, 
whereupon he blandly replied : " What war ? " This attitude 
was perhaps affected, but the story nevertheless illustrates the 
mentality of a particular group. On the other hand, there were 
many unappeasable Jeremiahs, who deprecated all form; of 
entertainment or amusement as incompatible with their lot. 
" Why make a theatre in this Camp ? " protested the pessimists ; 
" why print a magazine ? why plant flower-beds ? ' ' Fortunately 



192 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

for the sanity of the Camp these grumblings never assumed any 
organized or effective expression, but after nearly two years of 
internment there were still prisoners who thought it unseemly 
to attend the theatre or even the cinema show. These melan- 
choly captives were always moping and brooding, asking one 
another how long the war would last, and daily drifting deeper 
into a state of incurable depression. 

What everybody longed for was something exciting, some- 
thing that contrasted with the dull drab pattern of our sombre 
lives, something that would disperse the clouds of monotony 
if only for an hour. That w r as why there was such a sensation 
when half a dozen well-dressed American ladies came to a New 
Year matinee of the pantomime, and again when a big fire broke 
out one day among the factories of Spandau, sending forth vast 
clouds of smoke and flame. But the lust for excitement was 
so seldom appeased in the natural course of events, that all sorts 
of artificial means and adventitious aids were invoked to gratify 
it. The commonest of these was the fabrication of rumours. 
At first we thought that Camp rumours had their origin in 
confidential intelligence, but we soon realized that they were 
invented out of sheer sport, to torment one's fellow-prisoners. 
There were rumours about our impending wholesale release, 
about our transference to Switzerland, about receiving £500 
compensation each upon arrival in England because our intern- 
ment had deprived Germany of two army corps. These rumours 
were the plague of our life, but they also gave zest to it. 

But there were other and more dubious sources of excitement. 
Chief among them was betting, in which almost all classes seemed 
to indulge. There was betting upon sports and football matches, 
upon the arrival of a friend's parcel, upon the fall of the Darda- 
nelles, and the fall of Verdun, upon the duration of our intern- 
ment, and the length of the war. Gambling, although officially 
forbidden, had its numerous devotees, and more than one prisoner 
might be called a " profiteer." There was gambling with cards, 
with the time-honoured pitch and toss, and even with some 
small roulette-tables. And, perhaps strangest of all in a prison 
camp where intoxicants were forbidden, there were also occa- 
sional cases of drunkenness. These drinking bouts occurred 
for the most part among the less educated class, and the drunk- 
ards, if caught by the military, were sent either to the cells 



MENTAL, MORAL AND SPIRITUAL FACTORS 193 

or to the Stadtvogtei Prison. But from time to time they occurred 
among the educated section too. One midnight I came across 
a tipsy youth of nineteen, of good family and education, leaning 
against the wall of the latrine, our " night club," and holding 
forth with precocious cynicism on the pleasures of wine and 
woman. " Why shouldn't I have a little drink ? ' he said. 
" This beastly place is (hiccup) getting on my bally nerves 
(hiccup) ! Besides I can stand a drop (hiccup) ! The chap who 
had the other half of the bottle has drenched all his bed and is 
lying like a log (hiccup). Are we downhearted ? No ! Are 
we ? Never ! " The following day I spoke to that youth again, 
after he had recovered his sobriety. He looked sheepish, but 
was unrepentant. " If I can't get a little harmless excitement 
now and again," he said, " I shall go off my head." 

Several men gave up the struggle of trying to reconcile them- 
selves to their lot : they attempted either to escape or to commit 
suicide, or they became victims of mental derangement. The 
number of attempts at escape was comparatively small, and the 
successes were fewer still. In July, 1915, Messrs. Edward Falk 
and Geoffrey Pyke escaped one night from the Camp. Two 
months later Mr. Alfred Delbosq, who had a week's furlough, 
escaped. And in April, 1916, Messrs. Gaunt and Colston also 
escaped. The first attempt at suicide was made early one morning 
in March, 1915, by a prisoner with a razor, who was not stopped 
until he had inflicted a gash in his throat ; and one or two 
attempts were made in the following summer. Cases of mental 
derangement were unfortunately more frequent. I cannot 
hazard any estimate of their number, but know that a special 
section of Dr. Weiler's Sanatorium was reserved for them. In 
a few cases the prisoners were slightly affected before they 
entered Ruhleben ; in most cases it was their internment that 
drove them mad. The military authorities made no discrimina- 
tion between the acts of the sane and of the insane. In the 
summer of 1915 a demented prisoner who was thought sane 
enough to be kept in the camp slipped out through the main 
gate unobserved, walked to the Spandau Station, and asked in 
English at the ticket-office for a " single to London." The 
wanderer was arrested, sentenced to a few weeks' imprisonment 
at the " Stadtvogtei," and then interned in the Sanatorium, 
whence he was afterwards released to England. Those who lost 

13 



194 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

their reason were generally released at an early opportunity with 
the batches of prisoners found unfit for military service ; but as 
a rule they arrived in England in an incurable condition and in 
two or three cases they had to be held under restraint. One of 
the party of released prisoners that reached Tilbury in January, 
1916, a man who had succumbed to melancholia, committed 
suicide by jumping into the Thames. Another, who was released 
earlier, died in September, 1916, after several months' detention 
in Colney Hatch. The spread of insanity at Ruhleben first began 
to assume alarming proportions in the summer of 1916, and con- 
tinued internment is hardly likely to check its progress. 

In an atmosphere that produces mental instability the moral 
values of society are also not altogether immune. The friction 
and irritation engendered by the herding of educated men in 
stables soon found an outlet in vigorous language that varied 
between the merely vulgar and the unprintably obscene. Coarse 
and filthy vituperations first came from the lips of the lower 
stratum of our community, to which they were native, but they 
gradually and imperceptibly percolated through the higher 
strata, until even the university graduate would unblushingly 
utter them. Oaths and expletives that were bandied by navvies 
were ironically repeated by respectable business-men, but re- 
peated so often until they became an integral part of their 
normal vocabulary, and thus every man selected for release to 
England was advised by his friends to go into a sort of quarantine 
before venturing to emerge in the bosom of his family. The 
pernicious effect of this bad language upon the mind and speech 
of the younger prisoners, many of them mere boys of fourteen 
and upwards, was not slow in manifesting itself. Youth showed 
little respect for age, and a lad in his teens would retort upon 
a sedate paterfamilias : " You're only a blooming prisoner like 
myself ! " Unfortunately the promiscuous crowding together of 
men and boys led to the indulgence by a few in secret vice. 

The redeeming influence of religion, however, was not absent. 
We had four different denominations at Ruhleben — Church of 
England, Roman Catholic, German Evangelical, and Jews — all 
of whom conducted regular services, besides a little group of 
Seventh Day Adventists. The first three bodies worshipped at 
first in the Grand Stand Hall, and afterwards in the Y.M.C.A. 
Hall, whilst the Jews had a little synagogue adjoining their 



MENTAL, MORAL AND SPIRITUAL FACTORS 195 

barrack. The Church of England community held two services 
every Sunday and one on Wednesday evening, and at the Sunday 
afternoon service the sermon was usually delivered by the British 
Chaplain at Berlin (the Rev. H. W. Williams) or by a prisoner. 
The most frequent and popular lay preacher was Mr. A. H. Kemp, 
who was formerly attached to a Seamen's Mission at Hamburg. 
The services were generally attended by four or five hundred 
worshippers, and they were brightened by effective musical and 
choral accompaniment. There was a splendid organ played by 
a professional musician, and the well-trained choir of forty 
voices held regular weekly practice under the diligent baton of 
Mr. J. Ketchum, a young Canadian interned since August 5, 
1914. The Wednesday services were usually conducted by the 
chairman of the Y.M.C.A. Control Committee, Mr. A. E. Howard, 
and the sermons or addresses were invariably delivered by 
prisoners, many of them University men. 

The Roman Catholic community, which was much smaller, 
also had two services on Sunday, besides frequent services at 
other times and regular early mass. The Catholics secured the 
use of a special room as a chapel, which they beautifully adorned, 
and in which vespers were held every evening. Their chaplain 
(Pastor Schmidt) was a British missionary of German extrac- 
tion, who remained in voluntary internment, and who received 
confession. The German Evangelical services were necessitated 
by the large number of British subjects who had been born and 
bred in Germany. A religious revival was organized early in 
1916 by the Continental Secretary of the American Y.M.C.A., 
who, for a week, attracted crowded audiences to his nightly 
addresses, but apart from more frequent prayer-meetings in the 
Hall no deepening of the religious spirit was produced. 

A fellow-prisoner once dilated to me upon the spiritualizing 
influence of internment ; but he was a man who always cast his 
eyes upward to heaven and overlooked what was taking place 
on earth. My own experience is that a prison camp is a poor 
nursery for morals, that some of the previously pious may leave 
their faith behind them, and that the psychic effects cannot be 
shaken off for months. During the first few weeks of liberty I 
had an uncomfortable feeling that I was being watched and 
followed ; and even now I am still haunted by dreams that 
transport me back to the scene of my captivity. 



CHAPTER XXI 

BARRACK VI 

" The Ghetto " — A miniature diaspora — " Pumpernickel " and David — Hot- 
water trade — Barrack administration — My iniquity and retirement — Rival con- 
venticles — Passover celebration — The Synagogue — Congregational differences — 
Kosher dinner vicissitudes — " Immer Baracke Sechs!" — Anti-Semitism — Alleged 
pro-Germanism — Share in public activities. 

LIFE in Barrack VI was distinguished from that in all 
other barracks, not on account of any difference in the 
/daily routine, but simply on account of the nature of its 
inhabitants. A Jew who prided himself on his non-Jewishness, 
though he had a nose of conspicuous aquilinity, contemptuously 
spoke of Barrack VI as the " Ghetto " ; and a fellow-" Marrano," 
who considered himself somewhat of an aristocrat, though his 
neighbours in the non- Jewish Barrack where he lived seldom 
spoke of him otherwise than as " that bloody Jew," patronizingly 
described it as " Petticoat Lane." But neither of them, nor 
many of the other weak-kneed Jews scattered about in the other 
barracks, who lulled themselves into the delusion that their face 
did not betray their race, scrupled to visit Barrack VI for a game 
of cards, though they shuddered at the thought of living in it 
for fear of the odium that they thought attached to it. 

Barrack VI was a miniature Jewish diaspora, for its popula- 
tion was made up of the natives of various climes and the speakers 
of different tongues. We were all, of course, British subjects, 
but only the minority were natives of England. The bulk had 
their birth-place in Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, or 
Rumania ; they had acquired naturalization in England, Canada, 
South Africa, or Australia ; and they had either settled in 
Germany or been caught there by the war on a holiday or busi- 
ness trip. Some had actually been born in Germany and never 
seen England, but had derived their British citizenship from a 

196 



BARRACK VI 197 

father born or naturalized in British territory ; and a few, though 
born in England, had been brought as infants to the land of the 
Kaiser, where they had remained ever since, and thus had only 
a Platonic allegiance to Britain. This diversity of origin formed 
a frequent theme of discussion and an unfailing source of re- 
crimination, the medium of utterance being either English, 
German, Russian, or Yiddish, or a mutilated medley of them 
all. " Du Berditchever Engldnder ! " the German-born Anglo- Jew 
would taunt his neighbour for leaving his horse-box sweepings in 
front of his box. " Galizianischer Gazlon! " (Galician robber) the 
pale-faced Pole would cry out if hustled at the stable tap during 
the morning's ablutions by a fellow-prisoner born on the other 
side of the Russian frontier. Each section considered itself as 
good as, if not better than the rest, and the quarrels that arose 
through this peculiar instinctive antipathy sometimes developed 
into a tornado of mutual abuse, but hardly ever into fisticuffs. 

Yet the atmosphere that generally prevailed was undoubtedly 
peaceful, and a more friendly and fraternal spirit reigned in our 
midst than in most of the other barracks. This was particularly 
manifest in the evening, when most of the men were seated in 
groups in the stable-passage, eating their frugal supper at their 
little tables (some of them wrought by themselves), or playing 
cards, chess, or dominoes, or reading the evening paper or a book 
as near as possible to the electric-light, or discussing Weltpolitik 
and the endless aspects of the war. The main source of discord 
in our family circle was the yelling and bellowing of our head- 
guard, familiarly known among us as " Pumpernickel," who was 
occasionally seized by a fit of hyper-zealousness, and raved and 
raged at us for smoking in the passage, although he had no 
scruple about accepting a cigar, if discreetly presented. The 
vituperations in which he indulged (Saujuden and Dreckjuden 
being his favourite expressions) induced some of us to form the 
decision to complain to the Acting Commandant ; but before 
we could carry out that intention he had approached the Baron 
himself, with the result that the latter, at the next parade, 
threatened that if any prisoner complained about the head- 
guard he would be severely punished as an example to others 
who wanted to undermine discipline ! 

The only prisoner who got on well with " Pumpernickel " was 
his orderly, David, which we all pronounced " Dah-vid," in the 



198 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

German style. David was a native of Manchester, who had 
spent the greater half of his forty-four years on the Continent, 
in the employment of various circuses. He maintained that he 
was a lion-tamer, that he had also tamed tigers, bears, and 
giraffes, and that the loss of sight in his left eye was due to the 
scratch of an angry tiger. Most of us, influenced by the uncouth 
and unprepossessing figure of David, believed that his only con- 
nection with wild beasts was as a cleaner of their dens ; though 
his own pretence was supported by his successful taming of 
" Pumpernickel." The cordiality, nay, the friendship that 
existed between David and his master was most remarkable, and 
was typified by their addressing one another as Du in the privacy 
of the guard's room. David was selected for the post of orderly 
as a result of his amateur musicianship on the first of our marches 
round the racing-track, a few weeks after our internment, when 
he made a mouth-organ out of a pocket-comb and a piece of 
paper and blared forth the melody to which we all sang : 

" John Broivn's baby's got a pimple on its nose, 
John Brown's baby's got a pimple on its nose ; 
John Brown's baby's got a pimple on its nose, 
As we go marching home ! " 

" Pumpernickel " was so delighted with his musical feat that 
he presented David on the spot with a cigar and at once pro- 
moted him to be his constant attendant. David's duties were 
to clean his room, make his bed, brush his boots and clothes, 
polish his helmet and buttons, and do any miscellaneous cooking 
that might be necessary on the simple stove. His hours were 
long, for sometimes he rose at five o'clock to make breakfast 
for " Pumpernickel," prior to the latter 's departure with a batch 
of prisoners to some other camp ; and he also stayed up with 
him late and primed him with strong coffee on the nights before 
he had to submit himself for examination by the military doctor, 
in order to see whether he was fit to be sent to the front. For 
although " Pumpernickel " foamed with patriotism for the 
Vaterland, he preferred to "do his bit " in the stables of 
Ruhleben. 

In return for his services David was allowed to sell hot water 
to his fellow-prisoners at a time when such commerce was strictly 
forbidden. He literally drove a roaring trade, for he always 



BARRACK VI 199 

shouted " Boiling water ! " and " Gekochtes Wasser ! " so that 
those at the extreme ends of the stable passage could hear, and 
he derived what we believed to be no mean income, as we all 
preferred to make our own tea and coffee rather than take the 
insipid beverage of the Camp kitchen. The usual charge for a 
small pot of hot water was ten pfennige (one penny), and nothing 
less than five pfennige was accepted for a mere cup, whilst many 
men paid a weekly subscription from one to two marks for a 
regular supply of the precious liquid. On one occasion the 
service was temporarily suspended, as an order was issued from 
the military authorities that no hot water was to be supplied to 
prisoners, except those who were sick. But David was equal 
to the emergency. He called out " Boiling water for sick 
people ! " or, more facetiously in German, " Gekochtes Wasser fur 
gekrdnkte Leute ! " with the result that we discovered that nearly 
everybody in the barrack was sick. David's business flourished 
until about the middle of March, 1915, when the boiler-house 
for the regular sale of hot water was opened, and though he re- 
duced his prices he could not compete with the Camp concern. 
But, alas, poor David is now in a place where he can sell hot 
water no more. For shortly afterwards he contracted a serious 
kidney disease, spent several painful months in the Camp hospital 
and Charlottenburg sanatorium, was released in November, 1915, 
to England (with " Pumpernickel's " photograph as a parting 
gift), and eight months later, after nameless agony, passed 
away, unwept and unsung, at the London Hospital. 

The only prisoner whom " Pumpernickel " found more than 
a match for him was our first Captain, Dr. Katz, who was resolved 
to assert his authority in all internal affairs of the barrack. A 
silent feud gradually grew up between the two, until our guard 
exposed himself to the charge of accepting a Christmas box from 
his prisoners (a gift that he wisely returned), whereupon, in 
sheer self-defence, he capitulated to the captain. Dr. Katz 
was assisted in the administration of order by two " policemen," 
Mr. Sol Asher and myself, for upon our return from the Emigrants' 
Station to the Camp my office of postman was assumed by a 
fellow-prisoner. I took my duties as a " policeman " rather 
lightly, especially as I had no power of arrest, and I generally 
confined my functions to exhorting my fellow-captives at nine 
o'clock to stop talking and let others sleep. I had the peculiar 



200 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

experience that although my fellow-prisoners had been busy 
talking with one another the whole day long, they no sooner got 
into bed than the floodgates of conversation were let loose as 
though they had been held in check for the last twelve hours. 
Upon the release of Dr. Katz, owing to his having been born in 
a British colony, " Pumpernickel " rejoiced and pinned the arm- 
band of office upon the coat-sleeve of Mr. Asher ; but when, a 
few weeks later, the Colonials were also interned, Dr. Katz was 
brought back but settled in another barrack. As for myself I 
remained the sole " policeman," but fear that I left a stain upon 
the scutcheon of my office, for (as I have already related in a 
previous chapter) I was found guilty of a breach of the regulations 
and was transported, with several fellow-criminals, under an 
imposing military escort, to the Stadtvogtei gaol for a fortnight's 
penitence. Our removal took place on the second evening of 
Passover, and I shall never forget the long line of sad faces that 
I passed, and the hearty hand-grips that I received, as I wandered 
forth to my then unknown punishment. It was " a disturbed 
Seder " (ritual service) with a vengeance, and a pall of gloom 
was spread over the barrack for several days. Upon my return 
I naturally retired from " the force," although I found, from the 
ovation I received at the first occasion on the platform of the 
Debating Society, that my incarceration was regarded in the 
light of an heroic adventure. 

Our barrack contained more than a minyan (quorum of ten) 
of pious inmates, and hence both daily and Sabbath services 
were held. The daily services were usually held in the privacy 
of a horse-box, whilst the Sabbath services were conducted in 
the central passage, a wooden lectern having been fixed against 
the wall and provided with two lighted candles. Before long 
two separate congregations came into being, owing to the dis- 
satisfaction of one with the Chazan (precentor) of the other, and 
then we used to hear two rival strains of sacred melody rising 
unto the rafters, one from the central passage and the other 
from the dissident horse-box, and each trying to outdo the other. 
When the Feast of Chanukah came the candles were lit in the 
central passage and the whole stable resounded with the joyous 
song of Maoz Tsur ; but the Feast of Purim found us gathered 
together in the Grand Stand Hall to listen to the ancient story 
of the defeated machinations of Haman. It was not until the 



BARRACK VI 201 

advent of the first Passover that the Ruhleben Jewish Com- 
munity became properly organized and acquired possession of a 
synagogue. 

The celebration of Passover in captivity — surely the most 
incongruous of celebrations — was assisted by the Jewish Soup 
Kitchen in Berlin, which provided us, at ten marks a head, with 
eight pounds of Matzo (unleavened bread), and with a package 
containing two half-bottles of Palestinian wine, two hard-boiled 
eggs, a little bottle of charoses (nut paste) and another of mar or 
(bitter herbs), as well as with a small packet of salt and a paper- 
covered Haggadah. We were also able to buy various Passover 
groceries, such as cocoa, sugar, condensed milk, and cakes, 
which were supplied by a Jewish firm in Berlin (though at rather 
high prices), and we furthermore invested in a new set of eating 
utensils. These various articles were sold in a wooden shed, 
which was specially erected against the walls of our barrack : 
it first of all did service as a canteen and was afterwards con- 
verted into a synagogue. The special permission of the Com- 
mandant had to be obtained for our consumption of wine, which 
was ordinarily forbidden, and several of the " Marannos ' 
availed themselves of the privilege. Most of the men held the 
Seder in their horse-boxes, though a large group combined for 
a joint service at one end of the passage, which looked quite 
festive with an array of candles along a narrow table and re- 
sounded with the joyous strains of the sacred ritual. 

The transformation of the shed into a synagogue was under- 
taken by a humble inmate of our barrack, who was a skilled 
carpenter and a diligent artificer. It was only a simple structure, 
with a wooden floor, four windows, and a roof that had to be 
doubly waterproofed to prevent the rain from dripping through ; 
but by dint of ingenuity it was made into a cosy little Chevrah 
(bethel) capable of accommodating about fifty worshippers with 
ease, though even double that number contrived to forgather 
there at secular meetings. Our Ruhleben Bezalel not only 
wrought an ample reading-desk and an Ark of the Law, but he 
also furnished the latter with a couple of artistic pillars, one on 
each side, made of a number of tin boxes superimposed upon 
each other and plastered round with streaked white paper which, 
at a distance, looked like marble. He also designed tablets with 
the Ten Commandments, which surmounted the Ark ; fashioned 



202 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

three imposing chandeliers, to hold candles, out of condensed 
milk and mustard tins, and decked the walls with paper, which 
was tricked out with the device of the " Shield of David " multi- 
plied repeatedly. The cost of building the synagogue was borne 
by some pious and munificent co-religionists in Berlin ; and the 
scrolls of the Law, with the vestments and curtains of the Ark, 
were presented by Mrs. Israel (a niece of the late Chief Rabbi, 
Dr. Adler). The permission to build the structure had literally 
to be wrung from the military authorities, and it was granted 
only upon the condition that it should also be placed at the dis- 
posal of the Camp in general for educational purposes. Hence 
it was furnished by the Arts and Science Union with a number 
of folding tables and chairs, and lectures were held within its 
walls on philosophy and mathematics. 

Our synagogue established, without all the elaborate cere- 
monial of foundation-stone laying, we constituted ourselves into 
a congregation and elected a committee with officers of recognized 
piety. But that committee no sooner came into being than it 
proved the source of intrigues, feuds and wrangles, which diverted 
all interest from the progress of the war. Our Bezalel, who was 
a member of the committee, complained that most of his col- 
leagues thwarted him in his decorative designs ; another member 
complained that the name given to the congregation Mattir 
Assurim (" Releaser of Prisoners ") applied more appropriately 
to convicts than to prisoners of war ; others demanded the 
adoption of a long-winded Memorandum setting forth the 
history of our congregation, without giving us any opportunity 
of studying its text ; and others again agitated for a reform of 
the Sabbath service. The general bickering that ensued, the 
cabals that were formed, and the threats that were whispered of 
establishing a rival congregation, led to a special visit one Sunday 
afternoon from a Berlin Rabbi (Dr. Munk), who paid us fort- 
nightly visits and delivered homilies, at first in the stable passage 
and afterwards in the Synagogue. The mission of the Rabbi was 
to hear all the manifold grievances and establish peace, but before 
the deliberations began in the little crowded shrine, the peace 
was again imperilled by the demand of some partisans that only 
paying members should take part in the proceedings and the 
rest should withdraw. But the Rabbi poured oil on the troubled 
waters ; all remained ; and a number of speeches were delivered, 







THE CHAPEL 



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THE SYNAGOGUE 



BARRACK VI 203 

which were almost all concerned merely with the question of 
the name of our congregation. Had we been assured that our 
congregation would live for a hundred years there could hardly 
have been more heat and enthusiasm engendered by the ques- 
tion than in our delusion that it would be dissolved in a few 
months through our wholesale liberation. The bulk of the 
committee pleaded for the retention of the name Mattir Assurim, 
which they had already perpetuated by means of a rubber stamp, 
and imprinted upon the fly-leaves of Prayer Books ; whilst the 
opposition quoted Biblical texts to show that the Hebrew for 
" captives " was Shvuyim, and urged that an indelible stain 
would be inflicted upon them if in generations to come it was 
said that they were members of a " congregation of convicts." 
The learned Rabbi, assailed by contrary arguments, prudently 
reserved his judgment, which he communicated to us a week later 
by letter. He admitted the impropriety of our present designa- 
tion, and suggested, as a means of pacifying both sides, the name 
Ezra Bazoroh (" Help in Distress "). 

Again a general meeting was called, and again there were 
mutual recriminations, which could not have been more passion- 
ate had we been debating the chances of our immediate release. 
The majority of the committee still showed a hankering for the 
title Mattir Assurim, in the abolition of which they saw a censure 
upon their learning ; and as the name had to die they gloriously 
resolved to die with it, or, in other words, to resign. Chaos and 
anarchy then threatened us until a majority of the congregants 
voted me to the chair, and I soon established a happy solution. 
The minority of the committee, piqued by the resignation of the 
majority, also refused to serve any longer : for what would there 
have been for them to do ? We therefore merely re-elected the 
Warden and Honorary Secretary, who were generally acceptable to 
the great body, and I was elected Chairman of the congregation, 
with power to convene future meetings. So the destinies of the 
Ruhleben Hebrew Congregation were directed without a com- 
mittee, and despite the most insidious arguments of my fellow- 
members I refused to convene another general meeting, with 
the result that for the next twelve months, down to the day of 
my departure, peace reigned supreme in the bosom of our com- 
munity. 

Our midday dinner was brought to our stable regularly in tin 



204 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

pails, hermetically sealed, by a motor-car from Berlin, which 
was generally accompanied by a voluntary lady helper, who 
served out the meat, and who showed considerable devotion and 
self-sacrifice in her somewhat uncongenial duty. The vegetables 
and soup were distributed by prisoners, and for several months 
I wielded the soup-ladle and studied human nature as it filed 
past with outstretched bowls and unfolded itself in varying 
moods and contrasted temperaments, and I soon distinguished 
between the Oliver Twists and the epicureans. A long history 
could be written of our Kosher dinner and the innumerable 
episodes connected therewith, but it would probably interest 
only those who ate it and their families. For the world in general 
it must suffice to summarize such chronicles. At first our dinner, 
compared with the Camp dinner, was very good, as it always 
included a morsel of meat, so that even a number of non-Jews 
and several " Marannos " paid to partake of it. The military 
authorities, however, soon forbade the Christians to seek consola- 
tion in Jewish diet, although they permitted about twenty 
Mohammedans to receive it. Then a recurrence of the epidemic 
which had afflicted us in the Emigrants' Railway Station broke 
out, and the explanation of the first outbreak seemed to us 
untenable as the repetitions occurred not merely on Saturday 
night but also in the middle of the week. Sometimes we thought 
the evil lay in the meat, sometimes in the soup, sometimes in the 
vegetables ; and on every morning after a ghastly midnight we 
discussed with one another what parts of the dinner we had 
respectively eaten in order to track the germ of our affliction. 
As the blessing of a Kosher dinner so often involved the curse 
of a tortured stomach, there were numerous defections from the 
Kosher contingent, for many men preferred a trefah dinner to 
a troubled night. The daily fluctuations in the number of those 
who went to the Camp kitchen evoked angry protests from the 
military authorities, who liked nothing so much as uniformity, 
and also from our head-guard " Pumpernickel," who indulged 
in unprintable abuse. At length the management of the soup 
kitchen discovered the cause of the evil, which lay not in the 
food but in the utensils in which it was conveyed, and as soon 
as the necessary remedy was made we were able to eat our dinner 
without any fear of developing into night-walkers. But although 
our dinner was henceforth safe there was always an element of 



BARRACK VI 205 

uncertainty about the hour of its arrival, especially in the winter, 
when the motor-car frequently broke down on the snow-clad 
road, and either another car had to be requisitioned or a dozen 
members of our barrack sallied forth under military escort to 
fetch the pails. And hence the cry of " Auto da ! " (The taxi's 
here) was always eagerly awaited, though often not heard until 
after two instead of at half -past twelve. 

With the advent of the second winter (1915-16) there was a 
gradual decline in the quality of our food. The two compulsory 
meatless days (Tuesday and Friday) slowly increased, as the 
weeks advanced, to three, four, five, six, and even seven, and 
by the time we celebrated the second Passover we had become 
accustomed to complete vegetarianism, for about that period 
we had no meat for six weeks and were fed on a monotonous diet 
of starchy foods — potato soup, boiled potatoes, and rice — alter- 
nating occasionally with fish, until our stomachs revolted. The 
Sabbath fare was always the worst of the week, as, in order not 
to imperil our stomachs, nothing hot was sent, but generally 
an indigestible sausage, or the remnants of the previous 
day's fish, or a diminutive herring, with brown bread : a menu 
that reflected both the distress of the soup kitchen and the 
general shortage in the country. The result was that the Sab- 
bath, instead of being hallowed, was inevitably violated, as 
private cooking became the order of the day, and Friday's 
potatoes were generally saved up to be fried on Saturday. But 
despite the sad degeneration of our Kosher dinner the Camp, 
seeing the motor-car daily dashing to Barrack VI, persisted in 
envying the steaks and mutton-chops which it fondly imagined 
were our normal menu ; and in proportion as the dinner declined 
our weekly subscription rose from one to four marks and more, 
owing to the rise in food prices, and owing to the cost of the car's 
daily journey slowly mounting from fifteen to twenty-five 
marks. 

That Kosher motor-car was probably at the bottom of the 
Camp's delusion that Barrack VI was the spoiled darling of the 
military authorities. Our position, however, was very much 
different, for the least deviation from the rules was rigorously 
punished in our case, when it was overlooked in the case of others. 
There was a rule forbidding private trading, yet dozens of 
prisoners engaged in it with impunity ; but if a poor Jew were 



206 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

found selling sweets, or cigars, or clogs, or any other commodity, 
there was a hue and cry and " seventy-two hours on black bread 
and water in the cells " were meted out as his punishment. 
" Immer Baracke Seeks ! " (Always Barrack Six !) was the refrain 
of " Pumpernickel," who complained that his fellow-soldiers 
taunted him with the iniquity of the barrack. But for us 
"Immer Baracke Seeks! " had another meaning : we were always 
the scapegoats. 

We had been segregated, so we were told, in our own interest ; 
but when it suited the authorities they ignored their own pro- 
fessed principles. In the middle of June, 1915, ou/ loft was 
cleared, and the Jews who had been herded there were quartered 
in a new wooden barrack (XXII). But after they had made 
themselves as comfortable as possible in their new home, by put- 
ting up shelves, cupboards, curtains, etc., one fine day a batch 
of German convalescent soldiers arrived at Ruhleben in order 
to recuperate ! — and the only accommodation that could be 
found for them was in the Jewish Barrack XXII. Again it was 
a cry of " Juden heraus I " At one hour's notice all the Jewish 
prisoners had to leave the barrack with all their belongings and 
go in quest of shelter in other barracks, and the greetings with 
which they were generally received made them realize the extra 
agony of being a Jew in addition to being a prisoner of war. 
Even those who remained in Barrack VI had an ample share 
of petty persecution. As ours was the oldest stable our water- 
pipe had a habit of bursting every three weeks, and it took three 
days at least before the repair was done, as Germany's good 
workmen are all at the front. The result was that we were com- 
pelled to go to the nearest barrack with our basins and jugs to 
fetch water for our morning toilet, but the abusive shouts with 
which we were assailed by many of the inmates in that barrack 
made us doubt whether cleanliness was next to godliness. 

Barrack VI, in short, was a sort of byword in the Camp, 
invariably uttered in a tone of contempt. On the only occasion 
when I visited the Camp cinema palace — a modest establishment 
— there appeared upon the screen the figure of a grey-bearded old 
Jew gloating over a heap of coins (in the film of " The Shylock 
of Cracow "), and at once somebody called out " Barrack Six ! " 
— and a guffaw of laughter swept through the room. Our Camp 
magazine, under its first editor (a disciple of the yellowest 



BARRACK VI 207 

•journalese) pandered to the sporadic Anti-Semitism, by printing 
insipid jokes that were painful pin-pricks ; and it required a 
ideal of argument and persuasion on my part to show the editor 
the folly and injustice of his ways and make him seek other 
'spheres of humour. On one occasion I was driven to make a 
public protest against this Jew-baiting. It was in connection 
with the agitation, in the summer of 1915, for a badge or medal 
|to commemorate our captivity. As there were a number of local 
associations, each of which wished a medal with a distinctive 
design, and as the little South African association contained 
several Jews, a malicious jester posted an anonymous notice in 
different parts of the Camp, giving as the South African design, 
" Facade of Barrack VI," and as motto, " Ich dien — if released." 
The sting contained in those last words, that the Jewish prisoners 
sought their release by volunteering for the German army, was 
more than I could bear, and at the crowded meeting held on the 
Sunday morning on which that notice was displayed I appeared 
on the platform and lashed out against the Anti-Semitic coward 
who skulked behind anonymity, challenging him to step up on 
the platform and vindicate himself ; and the silence that 
ensued, and the thunderous cheers that followed my defence 
of the Jewish cause, showed me at least that the bulk of my 
fellow-prisoners were opposed to the campaign of Jew- 
baiting. 

When I discussed with a Christian fellow-prisoner, a man of 
University education, the cause of Anti-Semitism in the Camp, 
his only explanation was that Barrack VI was generally regarded 
as pro-German, owing to the number of undoubted pro-Germans 
that it contained. But when I asked him what that number was 
and what proportion he thought it bore to the total population 
of the barrack, he admitted that he had not investigated the 
matter. The ignorance of the Camp on this subject was un- 
doubtedly a source of mischief, and was responsible for the 
stepmotherly treatment of poor Jews by the Relief Committee 
of prisoners. But the military authorities were largely to blame. 
When in April, 1915, they ordered the segregation of the pro- 
Germans in all other barracks, those in Barrack VI were allowed 
to remain, as their removal — so the Acting Commandant said — 
would interfere with the Kosher dinner arrangements ; but when 
it was a case of shifting the Jews from Barrack XXII to make 



208 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

room for the invalid German soldiers, and exposing them to 
renewed hardships, the argument about the Kosher dinner was 
forgotten. It was the " thoughtfulness " of the military authori- 
ties that engendered the thoughtlessness of the Camp. For the 
fact was that the authorities were so disappointed at the small 
proportion of pro-Germans in our barrack, which was much 
smaller than that in many other barracks, that they liked to 
foster the fiction that Barrack VI was pro-German. And yet 
there was not a single native of England or of a British colony 
in our barrack who declared himself deutschgesinnt, whilst there 
were several notorious cases of British-born Christians who 
openly avowed their pro-German sympathies, and some of whom 
(particularly among the Hoppegarten horse-trainers) procured 
their liberation through their sons " volunteering " for the German 
Army. Even when, in May, 1916, the official inquiry was insti- 
tuted to ascertain what pro-Germans were willing to become 
naturalized in Germany after the war, the Acting Commandant 
could not conceal his astonishment at the very small number 
in Barrack VI who, on family and business grounds, saw them- 
selves compelled to evince a desire to become later the Kaiser's 
subjects. 

Segregated though we were, we nevertheless took our full 
share in the public activities and burdens of the Camp, for 
although our barrack had a good sprinkling of tailors, carpenters, 
cigarette-makers, barbers, and miscellaneous business-men, we 
also included a number of talented professional men. Our 
barrack supplied several qualified teachers of languages and 
science for the Camp School ; it provided the organizer of the 
first Camp orchestra, who successfully produced Handel's Mes- 
siah and Verdi's Requiem ; it contained some excellent violinists, 
a popular actor, a versatile variety artist, and an ingenious scene- 
painter ; it supplied an expert and honorary meat-inspector for 
the Camp kitchen ; it furnished a competent librarian for the 
Reference Library ; and it provided for several months a Chair- 
man of the Literary and Debating Society, who organized the 
Ruhleben Parliamentary By-Election. The Anti- Jewish preju- 
dice that I have had to scourge was fortunately not general. It 
was not harboured by the numerous academic section in the Camp, 
and I received an attentive and sympathetic hearing when I read 
(by request) chapters from my Jewish Life in Modern Times at 



BARRACK VI 209 

meetings of the Historical Circle and the Social Problems Circle. 
But, unhappily, a great number of the Jewish prisoners were ex- 
posed from the very first to spasmodic baiting. Anti-Semitism is 
cruel enough to the Jew in freedom, who can shun it or shelter him- 
self from it ; but in a prison camp, from which there is no escape, 
it makes the Jew drink the cup of bitterness to the dregs. 



14 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE OUTSIDE WORLD 

The supply of German papers — Continental Times — Smuggled English papers 
— J' Accuse — Letters from Germany — Economic distress — Visitors — Talks with 
workmen and guards — Applications for furlough — Fear of English spies — The 
dogged prisoner on leave — The Doctrine of Hate — Trucks with church-bells — 
View of Spandau — Sky portents. 

OUR isolation from the outside world constituted one of 
our bitterest hardships, for our curiosity to know what 
was going on in Germany and on the various fronts 
increased from the moment when we were cut off from our main 
sources of information. A few days after our internment no 
newspapers of any kind were allowed to come into the Camp, 
and at once the wildest rumours took their place ; but after a 
brief interval the halfpenny midday paper, Berliner Zeitung am 
Mittag, familiarly called by its initials " Beh-Tsett," was brought 
in for sale daily by a poor little Kriegerfrau (soldier's wife) . This 
skimpy sheet formed the sole official channel of our intelligence 
of what was going on in the outside world down to April, 1915 ; 
if any German newspapers were used as wrappers of articles in 
parcels received from relatives or friends in the country they 
were rigorously removed by the guards at the parcels-office 
before the packages were handed to their recipients. But with 
the emergence of the summer sun the hearts of the authorities 
melted, and they permitted the daily sale of the Berliner Tageblatt 
and the Vossische Zeitung, both of which have a morning and 
an evening edition, as well as a Sunday issue of swollen propor- 
tions. The two illustrated weeklies, the penny Berliner Illus- 
trierte Zeitung and the threepenny Woche, were also allowed to 
enter. The papers were regularly brought by the German woman 
as far as the entrance-gate, where, under the eye of the sentry, 
they were taken by our official newsvendor (Mr. Butcher), who 



THE OUTSIDE WORLD 211 

sold them at a little wooden shed near the entrance of Barrack XI, 
on either side of which we lined up. 

The Berlin dailies that we received publish, as a rule, not only 
the official reports of the Central Powers, but also those of the 
Allies, though the latter, when they record a conspicuous success, 
are generally printed in an obscure corner. The TageUatt and 
" Tante Voss ' always devote considerable space to political 
affairs in England, and thus we were able to follow very closely 
the developments that led to the introduction of compulsory 
military service, and likewise the disturbances in Ireland. 
Germany naturally rejoiced at the Irish rising, and the papers 
devoted whole pages, with big bold headlines, to sensational 
descriptions. In the early period of the war the Tageblatt pub- 
lished a series of articles on conditions in England, by Dr. Hans 
Vorst, which I subsequently learned were pretty accurate as 
regards facts, and which were fairly temperate in tone ; whilst 
the Amsterdam correspondent of the Vossische Zeitung (Dr. 
Oskar T. Schweriner) appeared to waylay every " neutral " 
traveller from England and squeeze miscellaneous bits of in- 
formation from him, which he dished up into spicy articles. 

But these were not the only German papers at our disposal, 
for a great number of the men at Ruhleben, previously domiciled 
in Germany, were in regular receipt of the local newspapers from 
the towns in which they had lived, and thus we were able to 
follow the conditions and opinions in Hamburg and Breslau, in 
Cologne and Frankfort, in Munich and Leipzig. Occasionally the 
Vorwdrts too came into our hands, and we found that the Reich- 
stag reports in it were often much fuller than those in the " bour- 
geois " papers, especially in the case of Socialist speeches disclosing 
censorship caprices and military abuses. We were particularly 
interested on one occasion to read a Socialist exposure of evils 
at Ruhleben. That the Reichstag should have to listen to a 
denunciation by one of its own members of our hardships was 
somewhat comforting ; and there was even something hopeful 
about it, as the heartless conduct of one of the subordinate 
officers, who had the authority to grant leave and exercised it all 
too sparingly, was mercilessly criticized. Through the same 
medium we also learned that the Reichstag was informed that 
Ruhleben prisoners of pro-German sympathies were pressed 
into the service of the German army. 



212 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Books, brochures, and maps were procurable through the 
Camp bookseller (Mr. F. L, Musset) ; and on the walls of many 
a horse-box or in the passage of the stables there were pasted 
large maps of the various theatres of war, upon which the course 
of operations was followed from day to day. Many men also 
cut out of their papers the small maps illustrating particular 
campaigns, and preserved them for future reference. As these 
various publications had to be ordered through the Camp book- 
seller and passed through the hands of the military authorities, 
the latter were able to prevent the entry of any printed matter 
that was considered dangerous. 

We always took the German military reports, especially if 
highly seasoned, with the proverbial grain of salt, as they so 
seldom admitted losses and never included figures of casualties. 
English newspapers were strictly banned, with the exception of 
the pro-German Continental Times, edited by a British renegade 
and published in Berlin, which was sometimes distributed 
gratuitously in the Camp, with a view to undermining our 
loyalty. But despite the military prohibition and the most 
vigilant precautions we were able, nevertheless, to see at first 
The Times, and then the Daily Telegraph, fairly regularly. That 
these papers came into the Camp was not unknown to the military 
authorities ; but how they came remained an impenetrable 
mystery. One of the military officers, Rittmeister von Mutzen- 
becher, was even sportsman enough to admire us for the skill 
with which we circumvented the regulations. In the course of 
a little speech, in June, 1915, in which he complimented the 
actors in a performance of The Speckled Band, he dwelt upon the 
ingenuity of Sherlock Holmes, and said : " I think this Sherlock 
Holmes had better remain in the Camp until the end of the war. 
He may be able to find out for us how The Times gets into the 
Camp. At present we don't know, but we should very much 
like to know." 

The price paid for a single copy of the English paper by the 
prisoner who acted as newsagent varied from five to ten marks, 
owing to the risk involved in the traffic, but the agent always 
made a handsome profit, as he lent the paper out, at one or two 
marks an hour, to groups of fellow-prisoners. The borrower 
seldom knew who the agent was ; a stranger brought him the 
paper, and punctually, at the end of the allotted time, fetched 



THE OUTSIDE WORLD 213 

it away again. The efforts made by the authorities to solve the 
mystery all failed lamentably. On one occasion soldiers were 
sent to sneak up behind the men who sat reading papers on the 
grand stand and see whether any of the papers were either 
English or French. One zealous soldier made two captures and 
marched his men with their papers to the military office, fully 
expecting punishment for the prisoners and praise for himself. 
But a moment's examination showed that one of the papers was 
La Belgique, which appears in Brussels under German censor- 
ship, whilst the other was the notorious Continental Times. On 
the whole, however, there were few regular readers of an English 
paper, as the luxury of a subscription was a little too costly for 
a prison camp. It was thanks to the same ingenious mechanism, 
that copies of the weekly Zukunft, in which Maximilian Harden 
scarified his Government, made their way into our horse-boxes, 
and likewise that I was able to read at my leisure that remark- 
able exposure of Germany's guilt in causing the war, J' Accuse, 
the perusal of which is prohibited in Germany on pain of fine and 
imprisonment. 

Apart from books and papers we also had various other 
sources of information, such as letters, visits from friends, and 
talks with prisoners who had been away on furlough, with our 
guards, and with German workmen who came to do odd jobs in 
the Camp. The careful censoring of all letters that came from 
Germany, as well as of those that came from abroad, naturally 
prevented us from learning any news of military significance ; 
but it did not prevent us from realizing the hardships endured 
by the German population in consequence of the food shortage. 
When the wives of prisoners resident in Germany wrote that 
they had a difficulty in getting butter, margarine, meat, eggs, 
rice, sugar, soap, and other articles from time to time, we per- 
ceived that the country was beginning to feel the effect of the 
blockade. The letters received, whether legitimately or other- 
wise, from writers in Germany invariably told the same tale of 
distress — the difficulty of getting food and the desire for an early 
peace. Many a prisoner contrived to smuggle food (especially 
butter, rice, coffee, and corned beef) that he had received from 
England to his hungry family in Berlin. I knew one young man 
who used to grind wheaten biscuits into meal and send this to 
his widowed mother who could get no flour. Early in the summer 



214 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

of 1916 a prisoner received a note in a parcel from his wife in 
Leipzig, informing him of food-riots that had occurred in the 
city, and stating that one morning the facade of the Rathaus was 
found smeared with jam and that the body of a dead cat was 
hanging from a lamp-post, with the accompanying inscription : 
" This is what will happen to the Burgomaster." 

Permission for visits from male friends or relatives of German 
nationality, or from German business connections or legal 
advisers, was given but charily by the Berlin Kommandantur, 
which carefully investigated each single application. The 
interviews took place in the guard-room, within earshot of a 
soldier, and the conversation had to be conducted in German 
and confined strictly to business or personal matters, without 
any allusion to Camp conditions. Each visitor, who was limited 
to half an hour, was escorted from the gate to the guard-room 
and back by a guard, and was not allowed to speak to any other 
prisoner than the one named on his permit. The general tenor 
of the reported remarks of all visitors during the last six months 
of my internment was that the German people longed for peace 
and believed that there would be no third winter campaign. 
These views were corroborated by the wives and mothers who 
were allowed to pay a monthly visit to their husbands and sons 
from April 7, 1916 ; and they were confirmed both by the work- 
men who came into the Camp to do jobs as plumbers, smiths, or 
joiners, and by our guards. Both workmen and guards became 
very communicative under the influence of a little English butter 
or a piece of white bread, and spoke not in anger but in sadness 
of the distress in the country. The workmen were all above 
military age or mere boys of fifteen or sixteen ; whilst the 
guards, although all of the Landsturm and manifestly unfit for 
active service, went in dread lest they should be found fit to be 
sent to the front. ' You Engldnder can shoot : that one must 
admit," remarked a soldier who had been invalided back from 
the western front. 

Applications for furlough were all strictly investigated and 
very grudgingly granted. The reasons for which leave was given 
were generally to look after an ailing wife, to attend the funeral 
of a blood relation, or to conduct some business that was con- 
sidered of national importance. The official who had the 
authority to deal with such applications, Lieutenant Riidiger, 



THE OUTSIDE WORLD 215 

often displayed a callous cruelty in rejecting them, which pro- 
voked his denunciation in the Reichstag. On various occasions 
during the early period of our internment prisoners, whose wives 
had given birth to a child, appealed for permission to go and 
see their new offspring, but were invariably refused. Once a 
prisoner asked for leave to visit his father who was on his dying 
bed. " He is only dying," was the brutal reply, " wait a day or 
two, and you can attend the funeral ! " Before each case was 
decided the applicant's personal records or Akten were studied 
most minutely to see if there was a black, or rather red, mark 
opposite his name, for at the Ruhleben Kommandantur there was 
not only a card-index of all prisoners but also a voluminous 
collection of portfolios, each of which contained a batch of docu- 
ments relating to a particular prisoner. Nobody knew what was 
contained in his portfolio, and happy was the prisoner who had 
no Akten. A man might have written in a private letter that he 
did not care how long the war would last, if only England won : 
when that letter came into the hands of the censor, the iniquitous 
passage would be transcribed and the copy added to the writer's 
Akten, to be brought up in evidence against him when he applied 
for a day's leave. Once a prisoner applied for a week's furlough 
to visit his ailing mother who was living in a southern town ; 
he was told to come again three days later, and when he re- 
turned, the officer, taking an incriminating document from his 
portfolio, declared : " Eight months ago you said to me here that 
you would never draw the sword for Germany. Your applica- 
tion is rejected." 

Those who were given only a half-day's or a day's leave were 
allowed out only under the escort of a soldier, who, if wearing 
a helmet and carrying a gun, could not enter a restaurant with 
his prisoner, but if wearing a forage cap could pass as though 
on furlough himself. Such a soldier had in any case to be ex- 
ceedingly careful not to violate any of the numerous regulations 
by which his movements were hampered, as the military bureau- 
cracy of Berlin has a thousand eyes. On one occasion a Camp 
soldier who was in charge of a prisoner went with him into a 
restaurant in the heart of Berlin to have some lunch, and began 
to air the little English that he knew while jotting down notes 
of purchases he intended making. They had scarce concluded 
their meal when two men who had been quietly sitting at an 



216 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

adjoining table and watching them, announced that they were 
political detectives and must arrest the soldier and his companion 
on suspicion of being English spies. The soldier's protests were 
unavailing : he and his charge were taken to the Stadtvogtei 
Prison and kept there for an hour until telephonic enquiries 
made at the Kommandantur at Ruhleben established the absurdity 
of the suspicion. The soldier and his prisoner were released, but 
their little adventure had so frightened them that they returned 
post-haste to the refuge of the Camp. 

In the case of prisoners who received more than a day's fur- 
lough the assent of the Kommandantur at Berlin had also to be 
obtained. Such prisoners were allowed out on parole, but they 
had to report themselves every morning at the local police 
station, unless the Polizei-Leutnant agreed to less frequent calls. 
The lot of such a prisoner was not a happy one, for he felt him- 
self a hunted man. He had to be at home between eight in the 
evening and seven in the morning, and he was liable to receive 
a visit from a policeman or detective at any time of the night 
to see if he were at home. A prisoner who was once given fur- 
lough of this kind told me it was the most wretched time he had 
spent since his internment. He was rung up one morning at 
half-past one by a detective who wished to convince himself not 
only that he was at home, but that his wife was also there, and 
as the Englishman would not permit the detective to enter his 
bedroom or his wife to leave it, the lady had to call out, " Ich bin 
hier ! ' and the myrmidon was satisfied. That unfortunate 
prisoner on leave had to report himself at the nearest police 
station every morning before going to business. Whenever he 
left his office for lunch he found a man in the street watching 
him, and when he left the restaurant for a neighbouring cafe" to 
read the papers he found that same man furtively observing him 
from a near table. One day he went into Wertheim's large stores 
to buy an atlas for his child, and as he was fingering some maps 
in the book-department he turned round and saw that he was 
again being watched by the same individual. He dropped the 
atlas like a hot coal, for fear that he should be suspected of 
espionage, and asked for a volume of Treitschke's speeches. 
One midday, when he was sitting in his usual cafe, he noticed 
that the spy was not there, but the waiter who served him 
whispered : ' You are an Engldnder, not ? " The Englishman 



THE OUTSIDE WORLD 217 

looked up in astonishment. " I know," continued the waiter ; 
" the gentleman who comes here has asked me to report if you 
read an English paper, so I would recommend the Kolnische 
Zeitung." The Englishman drank his coffee with a gulp, paid 
with a liberal tip, and never returned to that haunted caf6. 

Another fellow-prisoner furnished me with a remarkable 
instance of the application of the doctrine of hate. His young 
daughter, though born in Berlin, was expelled from a Berlin 
school because she was a British subject ; whereupon he tried, 
through a mutual friend, to invoke the services of a Berlin Uni- 
versity professor to secure the reinstatement of the child. The 
reply of the professor, one of the most eminent jurists in Germany, 
was of the following tenor : " Even if I had the influence you 
attribute to me, I would not use it for the purpose you desire. 
Our children shall and must be brought up in a spirit of hatred 
against England, and it is therefore not fitting that your child 
should be in a German school." I read with my own eyes the 
singular epistle of this apostle of Kultur. 

In addition to the information we gleaned from fellow-prisoners 
returned from their furlough, we also found that the Camp itself 
provided no mean post of observation, for the Ruhleben Race- 
course lies just opposite to the main line running from Berlin 
to the west, and we were thus always able to see in what direction 
the troops were travelling. If they went west in large numbers 
we knew that another offensive was developing in that region ; 
if eastward, we concluded that the Russians were becoming 
troublesome again. We saw hundreds of trains daily, truck- 
loads of ammunition, cannon of various sizes, boats for pontoon 
bridges, and tremendous iron cylinders supposed to contain 
asphyxiating gas. We also saw the Red Cross trains coming 
back slowly from the west with their helpless burdens. The 
most remarkable spectacle that we ever beheld (it was in May, 
1916) was some trucks bearing immense church bells to the west, 
doubtless to be melted down for their copper in some foundry. 
The tallest of these bells appeared to be at least eight feet. By 
a curious coincidence, the train stopped just when the trucks 
with the church bells came opposite the main gate of the Camp, 
and as the railway line is on a raised level we were able to look 
and wonder. Along that same line were also regularly con- 
veyed the trucks overflowing with the English tin boxes 



218 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

collected in the Camp, in order to be used for ammunition 
purposes. 

We were within a mile of the garrison town of Spandau, and 
from the race-course we could see the long array of tall, smoking 
chimneys silhouetted against the sky, and depots with roofs 
painted green to make an enemy airman think they were peaceful 
meadows. It is there that munitions are manufactured in great 
abundance without pause day and night, and the town is guarded 
so carefully that the wives who visited their husbands at Ruhleben 
were not allowed to approach it via the Spandau Station, but 
had to make a detour. At various times in the day we saw 
Zeppelins, balloons, and squadrons of aeroplanes ; we heard 
troops in training lustily singing Die Wacht am Rhein as they 
marched along the bank of the Spandau Canal ; and in the 
evening, as we took our monotonous constitutional on the 
parade or sat and mused on the grand stand, we saw fireballs 
shot up into the heavens and restless searchlights that pierced 
the clouds. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

THE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS 

Medical examinations — In quest of notabilities — Exchange of seamen — 
Tantalizing rumours — The question of proportion — Cruel disappointments — 
Naturalization problems — Revival of hope — A day in Berlin — The twenty-one 
cripples — Disappointed again. 

THE optimism aroused by the release of a hundred 
prisoners on November 6, and of a hundred and fifty on 
December 6, 1915, did not last very long ; but whilst it 
continued everybody who had, or thought he had, some con- 
stitutional defect rendering him unfit for military service, fondly 
reckoned upon his liberation taking place at least within a few 
months. As there were already so many names on the list of 
prospective exchanges the number of prisoners medically ex- 
amined in December for this purpose was limited, but it was 
large enough to contain many cases that could obviously not pass 
the doctor. One sturdy, broad-shouldered man of forty, whose 
only apparent defect was flat-footedness, was asked by the 
doctor : " Was fehlt Ihnen ? " (What are you suffering from ?) 
and upon his beginning to enumerate various maladies the 
doctor tartly replied : "An Frechheit fehlt Ihnen nichts ! " (You 
are not suffering from lack of impudence !) Several men, who did 
not want to wait until they were included in their captain's 
list for examination, wrote to their families or friends to intercede 
with the Foreign Office or the American Embassy in Berlin. 
The Ruhleben Kommandantur invariably complied with such 
requests for separate examination, but in these cases the doctor 
generally found the prisoners at least fit for garrison service. 

By dint of experience we learned that the more external 
influence was brought to bear in favour of a prisoner the less 
service it rendered him. To be unknown and unimportant was 
to have the best prospect of an early release ; for if any man 

219 



220 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

invoked influential advocacy through the Foreign Office on his 
behalf, the German authorities always replied that they would 
release him only in exchange for some — generally high-placed — | 
German civilian prisoner in England, a proposal that, as a rule, ! 
was declined by the British Government. After the lapse of 
the first twelve months the Ruhleben Kommandantur had a 
pretty shrewd idea, thanks to the co-operation of the postal 
censors, of the family connections and status of most o* the 
prisoners, and those who belonged to more or less distinguished 
families either in the social or political world were entered upon 
a special list, for whose liberation some particular German was 
demanded back in return. In their search for British notabilities 
the authorities sometimes went to absurd lengths. One day 
a prisoner named Campbell was summoned to the military 
office, and was asked by Lieutenant Riidiger whether he did not 
have another name. The man looked at him in surprise and gave 
his Christian name. " No, I don't mean that," said the Lieu- 
tenant. " Isn't your name Campbell-Bannerman ? " The 
prisoner replied that he had not the honour and withdrew. 

Criticism of the composition of the big batches that left at the 
end of the year was rather loud, as about one-third consisted of 
negroes, who formed only about a twentieth of our entire com- 
munity, and the rest included a rather disquieting disproportion 
of German-sounding names. But when in the latter half of 
December, it was announced that all merchant seamen above 
the age of fifty-five (provided they were not officers) and all 
ships' boys below the age of seventeen would also be released, 
a fillip was given to our confidence, and we rejoiced when the 
old and young tars left together to spend the Christmas of 1915 
at home. The list for the following 6th of January, however, 
shrank to about seventy, half of whom were coloured men, and 
our hopes sank correspondingly. A few weeks after my dis- 
appointment in December I was told that I had no chance of 
leaving in January, as only older and more ailing men would be 
going, but that I could already begin to pack up for my departure 
on February 6. This further postponement annoyed me, but 
I soon became reconciled to waiting another month, although 
my health was gradually becoming worse. Then a rumour 
spread that the exchange of civilian prisoners had been stopped, 
or suspended for a few months, and a panic was created among 



THE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS 221 

::hose who had been waiting so impatiently the hour of their 
■elease. But this rumour was immediately dispelled when one 
lay Lieutenant Rudiger himself actually visited every barrack, 
in front of which the prisoners were lined up in fours, and took 
down the names of everybody who was over forty-five or who 
appeared obviously unfit for military service. We were given 
officially to understand that a large exchange was impending, 
land we associated the hurried selection made by Lieutenant 
iRudiger with the expected arrival in England of the steamship 
Golconda, which was bearing home about 500 German and 
Austrian missionaries and merchants with their families from 
India. High hopes were based upon this speculation, but when 
the 6th of February arrived and only eighteen left, the dis- 
appointment was universal. I ceased to place my faith in Prus- 
sian officers. The expected big exchange did not take place, 
though the missionaries and merchants reached Germany safely, 
and we wondered whether the Foreign Office had not missed an 
excellent opportunity which the German Government had 
apparently been anticipating. 

Disheartened by this further set-back and by the dwindling 
of the number released, I enquired why so few were allowed to go 
when there were at least 120 who had already been certified as 
militarily unfit, and when probably at least another five hundred 
of the same category would be found if the medical examinations 
that had stopped were continued. I was told that the German 
Government was disappointed at the result of the exchange : 
it had expected that the proportion of repatriated Germans 
to repatriated Britons would be something equivalent to the 
proportion of (26,000) German civilian prisoners in England to 
(4000) British civilian prisoners in Germany. The latter propor- 
tion, roughly, was about 6£ to 1, whereas the proportion of re- 
leased prisoners was very much less. But when I pointed out 
that the agreement made between the two countries contained 
no stipulation about a particular ratio, but simply provided that 
all civilian prisoners, irrespective of numbers, should be released, 
I was told : " Oh, yes, as England has the advantage in numbers 
it suits her to look at the matter in this way. But as she isn't 
hurrying we won't hurry either until a more respectable propor- 
tion has been reached." Another source of annoyance to the 
German authorities was the character of their subjects whom 



222 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

they were receiving back. " Den Auswurf der Menschheit haben 
sie tins auf den Hals geschickt ! " (They have thrown the scum of 
humanity upon our necks!) was the utterance I once heard from 
a commanding officer in the Camp, an allusion to the felons, 
pimps, and prostitutes whom England had shipped back to the 
Fatherland. I refrained from the obvious retort as I did not want 
to jeopardize still further my own slender prospect. 

On March 6 the number of those released sank to nine, and the 
hope that had hitherto sustained so many of us snapped asunder. 
If only nine were to be released each month it would take another 
year before the whole of the 120 still waiting were liberated. The 
outlook was heart-breaking, and many of the middle-aged and 
older men who had been looking forward to their liberty so 
keenly since the previous September and October began to sink 
into a state of disconsolate depression. Most of them had 
already had their passports made out and had written the good 
news home to England, but the only result was that as their 
families expected their imminent return, they received no 
parcels for several weeks until they wrote back again that their 
departure was indefinitely postponed. Some of them had 
actually seen their names on the posted lists, only to be struck 
off at the eleventh hour ; one man's name was thus struck off 
in two successive months. Another prisoner was stopped at the 
gate on the very morning of his destined release and after his 
luggage had already been sent on to the Dutch frontier : there 
was some flaw or other in his papers, and he had to endure 
another month's agony, whilst his luggage was sent back from 
Flushing. 

Then there were several men, who, although they had been 
interned for over a year as British subjects, were refused British 
passports by the American Embassy. These were all British 
naturalized subjects who, in the view of the Embassy, had for- 
feited their right to a British passport on account of their not 
having fulfilled their undertaking to settle in the country in which 
they were naturalized. There were many appeals against such 
refusals, for to what nationality did these men belong ? The cases 
were referred to the British Foreign Office, which, after searching 
investigation, recommended that passports should be issued to 
particular prisoners ; but the state of mind of these men awaiting 
a decision about their nationality can easily be imagined. In 



THE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS 228 

some cases the naturalization had been effected in a British 
colony — Canada, South Africa, or Australia — and the protracted 
correspondence that was entailed told heavily on the prisoners' 
health. One naturalized British subject had to wait three months 
before hearing that a passport would be issued to him, and, after 
rejoicing that his release could not now be postponed, he was 
informed that he had been found " not unfit for garrison service " 
and would therefore remain. Moreover, there were one or two 
instances of men who, although manifestly unfit for military 
service of any kind, and medically certified as such, were cruelly 
held back for the purpose of special exchange. 

Whilst we were debating with one another the tantalizing 
prospects, clouds began to gather over the political horizon which 
made us fear the worst, that is, for the immediate future. For 
several days the German papers published very disquieting re- 
ports from Holland, and it almost seemed as though that country 
too was going to be dragged into the war. How then could we 
get to England ? " Through Denmark " — " through Switzer- 
land," came the ready replies, and the problem was solved. But 
then Germany's relations with the United States also became 
very strained, and if things came to the worst, what would become 
of all the passports made out by the United States Embassy ? 
Surely they would become invalid, and then there would be 
another long delay before fresh passports were made out. Verily, 
the lot of a Ruhleben prisoner awaiting release was not a happy 
one. 

Amid all these disappointments, postponements, and specula- 
tions my health grew worse from week to week, for a draughty 
stable and a damp soil in the bitterness of winter in North 
Germany are anything but congenial to chronic sciatica. My 
appeals to the doctor merely procured me fresh consignments 
of aspirin tablets : the business of release, he politely pointed out, 
belonged to his colleague. And as the tablets failed to assuage 
the pain with which I cried out in the night, to the distraction 
of my box-mates, I one day plucked up courage and hobbled 
with a stick to the military office to urge my case. Fortunately 
there was no need for further appeal. I was told that my name 
had been put down for release on April 6, and I merely heaved 
a sigh of relief. I would not rejoice prematurely. But, striking 
while the iron was hot, I asked if I could have a day's leave in 



224 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Berlin to settle my affairs ; and a few days later this application 
was granted. 

After seventeen months of unbroken internment, diversified 
only by a fortnight's imprisonment, I was able again to walk 
about in Berlin like a free man. I had a military escort, of course, 
but as he wore no helmet and carried no gun, he attracted no 
particular attention, and nobody suspected that I was an English 
prisoner. I was struck by the general quietness of the streets, 
as compared with the bustle and crowds of former days ; by the 
large number of soldiers in all uniforms ; by the women tram- 
conductors, the post-women, and the female postillions ; by the 
sad faces of the people, the poorly stocked windows of grocers 
and bakers, and the many closed shops. In a little beer-restaurant, 
as the proprietor was smearing butter on some bread, one of his 
guests called out : " Be careful, you are putting it on too thick ! " 
I saw a long line of women, children, and old men, four in a row, 
and controlled by a policeman, outside a butter-shop, where, if 
they were lucky, they would each get a quarter of a pound for 
the week. I was further struck by the quietness of such streets 
as Friedrich Strasse and Unter den Linden, and the rarity of 
motor-cars ; but when I dined at Kempinski's I found that one 
could still get a satisfying meal for about three marks (apart 
from wine), though it was somewhat odd to be unable to get 
any bread. The familiar types at the restaurant, big-bellied, 
bald-headed men in black, with napkins stuck in their throats, 
were not as numerous as in peace-times, nor was the noise as 
loud. But the traffic on the tramcars seemed to be as busy 
as ever, doubtless owing to the increased employment of women. 
The streets in the evening were brilliantly illuminated, and the 
cafes, where you could still get tolerable coffee (though with 
little sugar) and delectable pastries, were as crowded and ani- 
mated as before. But the people were all tired of the war. The 
tone of boastfulness had vanished, and a longing for peace had 
taken its place. 

The 6th of April approached, and my heart beat faster at the 
thought that within a few days I should have left the squalor 
of Ruhleben for the familiar sights of London. On the 4th, at 
midday, I received a typewritten slip, summoning me to the 
Y.M.C.A. Hall, and concluded that I should there be informed 
of the final formalities connected with my release. Twenty 



THE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS 225 

fellow-prisoners were likewise there, all confident and happy, 
and also the captains. Then the Commandant, Count von 
Schwerin, accompanied by Baron von Taube, entered on a stick 
and addressed us in a husky voice : " You are the twenty-one 
prisoners who have been selected for exchange on the 6th. In 
return for you we expected twenty-one Germans from England : 
most of them are cripples, without an eye, or a leg, or a hand. 
As they have not yet come you also cannot go, and you must 
stop here until they do come. You have only your own Govern- 
ment to thank for that. But as there are some of you who are 
already over fifty-five, I shall take steps to secure their release 
on the 6th, as I think it barbarous that they should be kept here 
any longer." 

On April 6th the nine men who were above the maximum age 
were allowed to leave for England. The remaining twelve of us 
were kept behind. 



J 5 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE SECOND SUMMER 

Warm days again — Exodus of guards — Visits from mothers and wives — 
Experts in child psychology — A wine-buffet — Sunday photographing — Camp 
politics again — The missing buttons — Confinement to barracks — New cook- 
house — A prisoner of the Moewe. 

FOR the first few days I fondly cherished the hope that 
the twenty-one cripples, for whom England was alleged 
to have such a singular affection, would arrive by a later 
boat at Flushing, and I haunted the Captains' Office and the 
approach to the military office in hourly expectation of the 
gladsome message. But the days passed without a sign or a 
syllable of the coveted tidings. Then a rumour was spread — 
Heaven knows by whom — that the twelve detained men would 
leave on the 18th, and we hoped that this rumour would excep- 
tionally prove true ; but the 18th passed as uneventfully as the 
days before it, and we became resigned to our fate. Repeated 
disappointment had hardened us and robbed us of the joy of 
confident expectation. 

Summer began early, for at the beginning of April we had 
some delightfully warm days, which tempted us to bring our 
deck-chairs out of the stables into the open again. From the 
first of the month the bed-hour was again advanced to ten o'clock, 
and three weeks later summer-time was introduced, so that we 
were able to enjoy the full benefit of the daylight. All the 
features of the previous summer gradually emerged. The 
swallows returned to their nests in the eaves of the stables and 
the roofs of the grand stands. Men shaved off the shaggy beards 
they had grown in the winter for warmth, and walked about in 
short breeches, bare-headed and bare-legged. The cricketers 
succeeded the footballers on the sports ground ; lectures were 
again delivered in the open, on the third grand stand, a course 

226 



THE SECOND SUMMER 227 

on theosophy (by Mr. Reginald Ramm) attracting weekly 
crowds ; and as soon as the weather became steady the promenade 
concerts were also renewed. 

The next two months were punctuated by a number of in- 
teresting episodes, and as I made a mental note of each in turn 
I almost felt reconciled to the postponement of my release. First 
came the general exodus of the soldiers to quarters in the Emi- 
grants' Railway Station. They had been housed in Barracks 
XXII and XXIII and in the rooms below the third grand stand ; 
and although no soldiers had been in charge of the prisoners' 
barracks since the middle of September, 1915, the friendly inter- 
course that was maintained, in the face of official prohibition, 
between some of the prisoners and the guards was regarded by 
the authorities as too serious a menace to military discipline. 
The intercourse was not based on mutual affection, for the sol- 
diers, who had all been withdrawn from their families and civil 
occupations, chafed at the continued wearing of " field-grey." 
They left the Camp with unconcealed regret, to which they often 
gave expression through the barbed wire fence, beyond which 
they patrolled. But although they no longer lived within the 
Camp, a company of soldiers was always in attendance in the 
guard-room, which had been extended by means of an annexe 
at the back. 

The oft-heralded visits from wives and mothers at length came 
into force on Friday, April 7, 1916. The grievance of complete 
separation from these relatives, especially in the case of prisoners 
domiciled in Berlin, had often been brought to the attention of 
the military authorities, and repeated petitions were sent in, 
signed also by hundreds of prisoners not affected, to allow 
periodical visits. But for more than a year the Kommandantur 
was deaf to all entreaties, and prisoners adopted all sorts of 
pathetic devices to catch a distant glimpse of their wives, with 
whom they had a secret code of communication, and who stood 
outside the walls of the Camp at some given spot, feigning to be 
Sunday ramblers, but exchanging affectionate glances with their 
captive husbands, until they were sternly driven away by the 
sentries. At length the scandalous attitude of the Kommandantur 
was exposed by a Socialist deputy in the Reichstag, and the War 
Office promised amendment. On January 29, 1916, the American 
Ambassador in London informed the Foreign Office of a com- 



228 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

munication from the American Ambassador in Berlin, that an 
order was issued by the Prussian Ministry of War on December 
24, 1915, to permit British civilians interned at Ruhleben to 
receive visits from their wives or mothers. 1 It was not until 
three and a half months later that the order was carried out. 

The visiting took place in Barrack XXIII, which had been 
vacated by the soldiers, and which was furnished with a plain 
long table and some benches. Applications had previously been 
sent in both by the prisoners who wished to see their wives or 
mothers, and by these relatives themselves, and a list was posted 
up near the gate of twenty-five prisoners who would receive 
visits from two to three o'clock, and of another twenty-five who 
would receive visits from three to four o'clock. The women 
gained access to the barrack direct from the country road, 
without passing through the Camp, and the barrack itself was 
separated from the neighbouring barracks by a barbed wire 
fence. The visitors' barrack was fenced about and guarded as 
though it were a paradise, and hundreds of prisoners struggled 
with one another to catch a glimpse of the first fair visitors. A 
fellow-prisoner, who was in the first batch, told me that the 
meeting that took place between the wives and mothers with 
their husbands and sons whom they had not seen for the past 
seventeen months was the most touching spectacle he had ever 
witnessed, rendered still more so by the needless callousness of 
the officers. Many of the wives had brought their young children 
with them, but were compelled to leave them outside the gate. 
All the women had to sit on one side and the men on the opposite 
side, with the table three feet wide between them, to prevent any 
passing of notes ; and behind them, on either side, stood under- 
officers with a knowledge of English. Count von Schwerin, ac- 
companied by Baron von Taube, welcomed the visitors in a brief, 
husky speech, in which he expressed regret that the children could 
not be allowed to enter, "as," he said, "it would have a depress- 
ing effect upon their youthful mind." According to this military 
authority on child psychology, the keeping of the children back 
at the gate, in the charge of a sentry, while their mothers dis- 
appeared to visit their fathers whom they had not seen for seven- 
teen months, would not have any depressing effect upon their 
youthful mind. But the Count wished to be generous and 

1 White Paper, Miscellaneous, No. 16 (1916), p. 47. 



THE SECOND SUMMER 229 

allowed the disappointed fathers to kiss their children through 
the meshes of the wire fence. That, apparently, would also not 
produce a depressing effect. Was there ever a more infantile 
insight into the child mind shown by a hoary grandfather ? 
On another occasion (in May, 1916) I saw a servant-girl arrive 
at the main entrance-gate, with a parcel for a prisoner, and with 
her was his little child. The prisoner asked the Baron for per- 
mission to embrace his child, but was refused. The child was 
taken away crying, and the father bit his lips with rage. From 
the 7th of April every prisoner was allowed to receive one visit 
a month from his wife or mother ; and relatives who wished to 
come from cities other than Berlin had to receive the permission 
of the local police as well as that of the Kommandantur. The 
visiting days were Tuesdays and Fridays, and were so fixed, 
as a wag suggested, to afford compensation for their being meat- 
less days. 

The authorities also made a pretence of generosity by per- 
mitting the sale of some Rhine wine for one hour every after- 
noon, but as the officer responsible for its introduction, Lieu- 
tenant von Amelunxen, who was in charge of the finances of the 
Kommandantur, was a wine-merchant in private life, it is possible 
that this new measure was not inspired solely by altruistic 
motives. At first the would-be wine-bibbers were expected to 
take an abonnement for a week or month, but as this proposal fell 
flat the wine-buffet, which was opened in a room below the third 
grand stand, was accessible to all. The price of a quarter-litre 
glass was forty pfennige (fivepence), and nobody was allowed to 
have more than one glass. Many a prisoner, however, lined up 
a second or a third time, until a soldier was posted to prevent 
such plural drinking, but even the soldier could not prevent a 
man getting a drink for a friend, and thus at times there were 
cases of tipsiness. I heard that one of the main reasons why the 
sale of wine was begun at Ruhleben, as well as in other prison 
camps, was because the vintners of the Rhineland had millions 
of bottles which they could not export to foreign countries, and 
the ingenious alternative was adopted of dumping them upon 
the foreign communities within Germany's borders. Another 
apparent concession consisted in allowing a Berlin photographer 
to take photographs of us in groups every Sunday morning ; but 
as the operator charged handsomely (eighteenpence for a single 



230 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

copy), and the military authorities levied a good commission 
upon his receipts, the Kommandantur recouped in coin what it 
appeared to sacrifice in rigour. Besides, a group photograph 
invariably contains a smile or two, especially when the sitters 
are teased by their friends looking on, and its arrival in England 
would allay uneasiness. On the other hand, the authorities 
became stricter in insisting upon two parades daily, at seven in 
the morning and half an hour before bed-time, owing to the 
successful escape of two prisoners at the end of April, and one 
or two unsuccessful attempts that followed ; and as the accom- 
modation of the few cells was not sufficient for the men who 
turned up late at the morning parades, or who otherwise in- 
curred the wrath of the authorities, the "bird-cage" already 
described was established. 

There were also two incidents that generated further friction 
between the military authorities and the prisoners. One occurred 
in connection with the election of a new captain in Barrack V, 
in succession to Mr. L. G. Beaumont (for many months vice- 
captain of the Camp), who had been released to England by 
special exchange. The new captain, Mr. W. F. Mackenzie, who 
was unanimously elected by his barrack and confirmed by the 
authorities, refused to recognize Mr. J. Powell, Captain of the 
Camp, as the elected representative to the outside world, that 
is, to the United States Embassy. In consequence of this Mr. 
Powell offered his resignation to the authorities, but they insisted 
on his retaining office and simply " unbadged " the new captain. 
As Barrack V, however, approved of the attitude of their dis- 
missed head they refused to elect anybody else in his place and 
remained captainless. The Captains' Committee was divided 
on the question of principle involved, and a compromise was 
arrived at by the election of Mr. J. P. Jones, the Camp treasurer, 
as chairman of the Committee. On the other hand, Mr. J. C. 
Masterman, Captain of Barrack X, resigned out of sympathy 
with the dismissed captain, and was succeeded by Mr. M. S. 
Prichard. 

The other incident gave rise to a much more spectacular 
demonstration. At the end of April a new officer, Rittmeister 
von Glockel, came into the Camp, and was in command in the 
absence of Count von Schwerin. He appeared to be a man of 
about fifty-eight ; he had a thin, wiry, stooping figure, with a 






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THE SECOND SUMMER 231 

stern and soured visage, and a harsh voice. He had already been 
in two prisoner-of-war camps before, and a reputation for 
brutality preceded him. He had not been with us long before 
he found an occasion for distinguishing himself. Early on the 
morning of May ioth an under-officer employed in the military 
cashier's office reported to the new Rittmeister that the two 
rank-buttons had been removed from his cap. He specified no 
charge against anybody, but the Rittmeister at once concluded 
that the deed had been done by a prisoner and resolved to 
punish the whole Camp. He summoned the captains in a body 
to the Y.M.C.A. Hall, where he delivered a violent speech upon 
the crime that had been perpetrated and upon what he described 
as the general lack of discipline and order. He addressed them 
with the pronoun Ihr that is used towards menials, and said : 
" You have it too good here altogether. If I had my way I 
would put some of you against the wall and shoot you ! " Upon 
one of the captains attempting to say something in self-defence, 
the irate Rittmeister rasped : " Halt's Maul ! " (Hold your 
jaw!) — language that would be used by a brutal "non-com." 
to a boorish private. The Rittmeister concluded by announcing 
that, as a punishment for abstracting the two buttons — the 
cause of which he did not even attempt to investigate — he would 
impose forty-eight hours' confinement to barracks upon the 
whole Camp. 

At one o'clock the fire-bell was sounded, and upon our lining 
up we were told by our captains to make all necessary purchases 
at once at the canteens, as from two o'clock we should be con- 
fined to our barracks for two days. No official explanation of 
this measure was given to us by the captains, as they absolutely 
denied the complicity of a prisoner in the heinous offence. The 
sentence was rigorously carried out, as armed guards were sent 
to patrol the interior of the Camp, in order to prevent us from 
leaving our barracks. Those who wished to go to the latrines had 
to obtain a special permit signed by their captain, which they had 
to show to the sentries on the way. But at half-past four, as 
though in response to some telepathic wave, every barrack 
marched out for supper, four abreast, equipped with pots, cans, 
and bowls, many of us singing " Are we downhearted ? " and 
" Tipperary," and headed in each case by the captain. As the 
Camp supper seldom attracted even one-third of the prisoners, 



232 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

our turning out in full force and at the same time constituted 
a demonstration, the significance of which did not escape the 
intelligence of the Kommandantur . Not that we wanted the 
supper. But by all of us passing through the kitchens and 
demanding our due rations, the military larder was soon cleared 
out and the authorities felt that we had got even with them. 
On the following morning a military motor-car arrived with 
several high functionaries from the Berlin War Office for the 
purpose of enquiring into the dastardly deed of the removal of 
the buttons. At the end of an hour they came to the conclusion 
that our guilt was not proven, and they reduced the sentence — 
for an offence they admitted we had not committed — to twenty- 
four hours. Our mental state can well be imagined when we 
were actually happy to be able to walk about again — behind a 
barbed wire fence. 

Our demeanour during our punishment had apparently made 
an impression upon the Baron, for he shortly afterwards gave 
his consent to the construction of a cook-house — at British 
expense — for our benefit. The cook-house was sorely needed, 
as the meals supplied at the kitchens had sadly degenerated. 
The plans were drawn by a prisoner, Mr. R. Venables, and the 
staff was afterwards recruited wholly from the Camp. The 
supplies at the canteen had also diminished to an alarming 
degree, and whenever a fresh consignment of sugar arrived, 
about once in three weeks, long queues were formed radiating 
in all directions. On the other hand, the good spirits that always 
seemed to be uppermost found expression at a novel auction of 
unclaimed property, which was conducted by a stentorian 
policeman from a raised platform in the open air, within view of 
the military office. A crowd of several hundred was gathered 
round the auctioneer, who, in the course of three and a half 
hours' operations, realized 900 marks, which was sent for the 
benefit of needy British soldiers at the Doberitz Camp. 

The 6th of May had passed, and only a few prisoners above 
fifty-five were released, as apparently those mysterious German 
cripples had not yet arrived. With the advent of June came the 
glowing reports of a great German victory at the Battle of Jut- 
land, and the German flag was hoisted to the top of the Camp 
standard ; and as I discussed the event with a ship's captain I 
was introduced to a recently arrived sailor, who had been cap- 



THE SECOND SUMMER 233 

tured by the notorious Moewe. He told me that he was on a 
small British vessel, which was captured off the south-west coast 
of Ireland by the Moewe, which was flying a Swedish flag. The 
crew were taken prisoners, and the vessel was sunk. The Moewe 
sailed in a northerly direction until they thought they were going 
to the North Pole ; she passed Iceland, and then crept along the 
Norwegian coast. At the south of Norway they were wrapped 
in a fog, and the Moewe was almost on the point of firing at a 
large vessel, when she discovered that it was German too. The 
English prisoners were landed at Wilhelmshaven, and after 
passing through the camps of Hamel and Holzminden, were sent 
to Ruhleben. 



CHAPTER XXV 

MY RELEASE 

The happy news — Packing up — A medley of messages — A restless night — 
Leaving the Camp — Berlin butter-queues — Westward bound— ^A last farewell — 
My fellow-passengers — The mysterious Boer — Our amiable guards — On the 
frontier — Our first English welcome — The night at Flushing — Crossing the sea — 
Home in London. 

AFTER the numerous disappointments that I had under- 
gone I came to the conclusion that I had been born 
.under an unlucky star. I set my mind at rest by burying 
myself in an Italian Conversation Grammar, with which I had 
made the hours spin by in previous months, and every time a 
fellow-prisoner asked me, " When are you going home ? ' I felt 
inclined to retort with the rudest and ruddiest Ruhleben exple- 
tives. As the 1st of June had come and gone, and nothing had 
yet been heard of the departures for the 6th, I concluded that 
I was doomed to spend at least another month as a guest of the 
German Government. 

On Sunday morning, June 4th, I met the Vice-Captain of the 
Camp, Mr. P. F. Simon, and asked him whether he had yet 
heard how many men were leaving on the 6th. " So far as I 
know at present," he replied, " only two." 

' Then those cripples haven't come yet," I observed. 

At six o'clock the same evening, just as I was finishing my 
humble " high tea " in my horse-box, and discussing with my 
box-mates for about the five hundred and seventy-fifth time (for 
we debated the subject at least once a day) how long the war 
would last, our door was pushed open, and Mr. Simon, looking 
in, asked if he could speak to me for a moment outside. He 
seemed so excited that I feared that 1 had got into trouble 
again in some unconscious way, and a vision of my last solitary 
cell in the " Stadtvogtei " Prison flashed across my brain. 

234 



MY RELEASE 235 

" What's the matter ? " I anxiously enquired. 

" You are going on the sixth," he replied. " I congratulate 
you." 

For the moment I felt dazed. " Is it really true ? " I asked. 

" This time it really is true. Come and see Mr. Powell." 

We met the Captain of the Camp a few yards away, and he 
confirmed the news. Fourteen of those anxiously awaited 
cripples had at last arrived, and an equal number of Ruhleben 
captives would now be released. The Berlin Kommandantur had 
just telephoned that the War Office and the General Staff had 
agreed to the arrangement, and the passports would be ready 
to be fetched away the following day. My luggage was to be 
brought in front of the guard-room at four o'clock the following 
afternoon for inspection and dispatch, and I could at once begin 
all preparations for my departure. 

From that moment until, some thirty-six hours later, the 
Camp gate closed upon me for the last time, I did not have a 
single peaceful minute. The news of my impending departure, 
as well as that of the other lucky men, spread like wildfire, for 
at Ruhleben news always travelled with the rapidity of the 
swiftest aeroplane ; and although I deprecated premature con- 
gratulations, in the light of my past experiences, there was a 
general feeling that this time there would be no further hitch, 
and I was accordingly overwhelmed with messages for home. 
Now there was a strict regulation that forbade released prisoners 
to take with them any written messages of any kind, or even a 
mere name and address, so I advised my friends to reserve their 
communications until the following day, in order that they 
might be fresher in my memory after leaving the German frontier. 

Then I began to pack up, and I had little realized what the 
task meant, for it involved the winnowing of stacks of accumu- 
lated correspondence, and the distribution of cast-off clothing, 
books, food-stores, domestic utensils, and all sorts of miscel- 
laneous impedimenta. I was up betimes on Monday morning 
and got ready for the censor all papers and letters that I wanted 
to have sent to England, but during the process of sorting I was 
interrupted every five minutes by a man who wanted to have 
just a word, until I posted my coloured servant (who had first 
acted as a sandwich-man for me in the election week) at the 
door, with the instruction that I could not receive any visitors 



236 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

until after four o'clock. But I no sooner stepped out of the 
barrack, or even into the stable-passage, than I was waylaid by 
men, who had a dozen different messages to be conveyed to a 
dozen different addresses. At length, after repeated interrup- 
tions, I got my trunk ready, and as I carried it with the aid of 
my faithful servitor across the compound and passed through 
the long queues in " Bond Street " I was greeted with such cries 
as : " Won't you take me inside ? " — " Mind you don't come 
back ! " — " Vote for Cohen ! " — " Give my love to the missus ! " 
— " How much for your release-Schein ? " 

In front of the Wache (guard-room) we all deposited our 
luggage, and a military officer made a slow and thorough inspec- 
tion of all the contents of every box, bag, and trunk. He felt 
in every pocket of our coats, waistcoats, and trousers ; he ex- 
amined every shirt and collar as though they might be inscribed 
with some secret communication of high military value. My 
boots were wrapped up in brown paper. What, paper ! How 
dare paper be put into the trunk ? Heaven knows what moment- 
ous message might be written on it with invisible ink ! Out with 
the suspicious paper ! — which a gust of wind blew into the face 
of a pot-bellied soldier about to salute the Baron. Upon my 
trunk was pasted my London address, and likewise a number 
in red, of which I was given a counterfeit. The carriage of my 
trunk to the Zoologischer Garten Station in Berlin was estimated 
to cost five marks, and a third-class ticket to the Dutch frontier 
cost twenty-seven marks. I paid the money, but received no 
ticket. That was Prussian caution : for I might be tempted to 
give the ticket to another man who would escape. Wasn't that 
likely after I had been interned for nineteen months ? 

The rest of the day was one bewildering round of interviews 
with fellow-prisoners anxious to send an immediate message to 
their families. One man wanted me to call on his wife at Clap- 
ham and assure her that he was quite well ; a second, to call on 
his mother at Harrow and remind her about those thick stock- 
ings ; a third, to write to his brother at Cardiff to send him some 
" John Cotton " tobacco, medium ; a fourth, to telephone to 
his aunt at Brixton to send him a pair of brown summer shoes, 
size nine, and to be careful that the jam didn't spill ; a fifth, to 
wire to his sweetheart at Liverpool to send him at once some 
butter, marmalade, condensed milk, and two steak-and-kidney 



MY RELEASE 237 

puddings ; a sixth, to gather some material about trade unions 
in South Africa, and send it him as soon as possible ; a seventh, 
to make enquiries about his daughter in Bloomsbury, from whom 
! he hadn't heard for five months ; an eighth, to let him know " in 
[ some way or other " what really was the truth about the Jutland 
Battle ; a ninth, to beg his father-in-law in Birmingham to re- 
sume the interrupted remittances ; a tenth, to tell his brother-in- 
law in Salford that it was useless sending any more brandy in 
medicine bottles, as it was always confiscated ; an eleventh, to 
call at the Foreign Office and explain that as he had been natural- 
ized twenty-nine years ago and lived in Germany only fifteen 
weeks before the war, there was really no reason why he should 
not be given a passport ; a twelfth, to discover his uncle, John 
Jones, who was a personal friend of the principal assistant- 
postmaster at Tonypandy, and ask him to send a parcel at least 
once a fortnight ; and a thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, up to 
a ninety-ninth, all of whom impressed upon me the full name 
(sometimes with two or three Christian names) of their respective 
relatives, with their respective addresses, ranging in street num- 
bers from i to 379B, and including such floral house-names as 
" Chrysanthemum Cottage," " The Hawthorns," and " Sun- 
flower Villa." By the time the policeman's whistle signalled us 
to bed my brain was awhirl with the medley of names, addresses 
and messages that I had all to retain in my memory, and my 
arm was limp with the shaking of countless hands. 

I spent a restless night, my brain racked by a wild phantas- 
magoria of the Salford brother-in-law eloping with the Blooms- 
bury daughter and dining on the steak-and-kidney puddings, 
size nine, captured by John Jones in the Battle of Jutland, after 
which the Cardiff brother-in-law deserted the Liverpool sweet- 
heart and fled to Johannesburg to start a trade union strike. 

" It's five o'clock, sir," said my faithful " blackie." 

I rose with alacrity from my restless bed. The day of my 
release had dawned. A steady drizzle was falling, but for me 
the sky shone with dazzling splendour. 

At six o'clock I was in the Captains' Office, breakfastless, but 
without hunger, and within a few minutes all the others to be 
released were likewise present. Mr. Powell, holding the batch 
of passports, read out our names in turn, and then impressed 
upon us not to carry on our person any printed or written matter 



238 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

of any kind, on pain of being sent back at the frontier, and also 
not to take any German gold (which none of us had seen since 
our internment) or any more German silver than we needed for 
incidental expenses on the journey ; for the difference we could 
get German notes. 

At length we were ready for the departure. A large gathering 
of our box-mates and friends had come out in their overcoats 
to give us a send-off, and as the Camp gate clicked behind us 
for the last time I caught a glimpse of some men on a barrack- 
staircase shouting " Hooray ! " We were accompanied by two 
armed guards, one of whom jocularly called out : " Zum IcLztcn 
Mai ! Zu vieren antretcn ! " (For the last time ! Line up in fours !) 
We stepped out briskly along the country road, as happy as 
children off for a holiday. 

We walked as far as the tram terminus and there boarded 
a car, which took us to the Zoologischer Garten Station. The con- 
ductor was a woman, the driver was also a woman, and the 
passengers were either women, children, and old men, or young 
and middle-aged men in uniform. There was a look of sad- 
ness on nearly every face, especially on that of the women 
in mourning ; and although it was only half-past six the little 
girls with their Gretchen plaits and their bare-legged brothers in 
different coloured caps, were already, pale-checked and sleepy- 
eyed, on their way to school. As the car sped along through the 
main thoroughfare we saw long lines of women, old men, and 
children, stationed in front of butter-shops ; they were four in 
a row, under the eye of a policeman, some of them sitting on 
stools, and knitting socks or reading, and all waiting patiently 
until the shops would open two hours later, when, if they rcachc-l 
the counter soon enough, they could buy four ounces of butter 
for the week on presentation of their butter-card. 

We arrived at the Zoologischer Garten Station early enough 
to have breakfast in the refreshment-room, but all we could 
obtain there was coffee : there were no rolls and butter for sale. 
Fortunately we had provided ourselves with sandwiches, and one 
of our party had a good supply of cake in honour of his birthday, 
which he was celebrating that day. Our tickets were bought 
by Mr. Powell, who appeared on the platform with Lieutenant 
Rudiger to see us off. A large number of passengers, including 
some Englishwomen, boarded the westward-bound train, which 



MY RELEASE 239 

[eft shortly after eight o'clock, and we were accommodated in 
r .wo reserved compartments. Our two guards, who travelled 
.vith us, placed their guns and helmets on the rack and made 
hemselves quite amiable, whilst our entire party was in the 
;harge of " Feldwebel " Benthin (familiarly styled by us " Ben- 
sine "), who carried all our passports in a large envelope, which 
le always held conspicuously in his right hand. 

Within ten minutes after our journey began we approached 
he Ruhleben Race-course. We all crowded to the window to gaze 
'or the last time upon the scene of our captivity, and as we waved 
>ur handkerchiefs in the breeze a loud, lusty shout came from 
i crowd of prisoners who were on the watch. Farewell, Ruhle- 
>en ! 

Our party comprised altogether fifteen men ; the unexpected 
ifteenth was a mysterious man whom I shall presently describe. 
Dne of my fellow-travellers was Mr. Alexander Boss, a rival in 
he Parliamentary By-Election, and it seemed a stroke of irony 
hat whilst the two defeated candidates were released the victor 
vas detained to be teased on account of his unfulfilled pledge. 
Vnother happy traveller was a man who had passed through 
.11 the horrors of Wittenberg ; another had lain sick for months 
n the hospital ; and another was the light-headed Belgian whom 
ve had christened the " French Ambassador," and who had 
oluntarily made his home in one of the punishment cells after 
he establishment of the " bird-cage " had rendered these un- 
lecessary. 

The mysterious member of our party was a man upon whom 
lone of us had set eyes in the Camp until eight days before. He 
ad aroused general suspicion among our fellow-prisoners from 
he moment he brought his luggage for inspection in front of the 
uard-room, for he was a comparative stranger in our midst, 
nd it was unusual for any man to be released to England who 
ad not been interned for several months in Ruhleben. He was 

middle-aged man of spare build, with a closely-cut, grey-tinted 
card, and dark, shifty eyes, and he spoke in a somewhat jerky 
oice. He was a Boer by nationality, and told us that he had 
ved in Germany for the last ten years. At the outbreak of war 
e was dwelling in Potsdam, " thanks to the patronage of an 
fficial who was always talking of Court functions," and he was 
aus not arrested until August, 1915, when he was placed in the 



240 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

Moabit Prison in Berlin. There he became ill and spent most 
of his time in the prison hospital, until he was recommended for 
repatriation. We did not quite know what to make of our 
mysterious fellow-traveller, as we had heard that the German 
authorities might spy upon our movements and conversation 
right down to our arrival at the frontier ; and as several of us 
had been forewarned against this Boer we were also forearmed. 
We tried to engage him in conversation from time to time, and 
once I bluntly asked him : 

" Do you intend going back to South Africa ? " 

He hesitated a moment, jerked out " Yes," and dropped his 
eyes on to the newspaper before him. 

We whiled away the journey by studying the country scenes 
through which we passed. The crops, especially the rye, seemed 
to be very good ; and one of our guards, who lived close to the 
Dutch frontier, told us that the potato harvest was expected to 
be favourable. We noticed some groups of Russian and French 
prisoners of war working in the fields, and old men, women, and 
children were also helping in the labour. Every bridge was 
guarded by two sentries, and troops were being shifted to the 
West. 

There was a restaurant-car attached to the train, which we were 
not permitted to enter. We were served, however, in our com- 
partments with the available dishes ; and as it was a meatless 
day (Tuesday) we had our choice between scrambled eggs and 
boiled plaice, either of which cost the rather moderate sum oi 
1.25 mark (about a shilling and threepence). At Hanover we 
changed, and one of our guards, who lived in the neighbourhood 
and was on furlough, took friendly leave of us. In the station 
we were struck by the sight of a long train, which bore the 
prominent brass lettering : " Berlin — Lille." 

Nothing eventful occurred until we reached the frontier at 
Goch, at about six o'clock. There we had all to alight and enter 
the customs office for a final examination. Our luggage, which 
had already been inspected in the Camp, and which we had had 
no means of tampering with, was subjected to a further thorough 
search. Then we were personally examined by a number of 
officials. We emptied all the contents of our pockets on to a 
bench, and each article was closely scrutinized. Then our 
pockets were searched ; our coat collars and lapels were felt, the 



MY RELEASE 241 

ing of our hats was turned inside out, and our ties were un- 
one, to see if any of them contained a hidden message ; and a 
few of our party had also to divest themselves of socks and boots, 
est some secret report might be nestling in them. The search 
brought nothing to light, for we were all super-cautious. The 
chief customs officer questioned us all about our occupations, 
and entered into a rather lengthy conversation with the Boer. 
At last, we were each given our passports, and as we passed out 
of the office the Boer handed a post-card to an official to post 
All the rest of us preferred to wait until we had quitted Germany 
before writing any message. Then we entered the Dutch train 
that was patiently waiting, and as it steamed out of the station 
we caught our last glimpse of a Ruhleben officer, old " Benzine," 
who stood mute and stolid. 

At last we were in Holland. At last we were free, and the 
feeling of unspoken uneasiness that had oppressed us throughout 
the journey — for we did not know what might happen at the 
frontier — vanished as at the wave of a magician's wand. Now 
we could say, write, do, eat and drink whatever we pleased, and 
we shook one another heartily by the hand. But what had 
become of the Boer ? He had sat in our compartment until we 
leached the frontier ; now he had betaken himself alone to 
another compartment. 

At Boxtel some English ladies of the Society of Friends boarded 
our train and gave us the first English welcome. It consisted of 
a typical English tea — fresh white bread and butter that melted 
in our mouths, sandwiches, cake, and deliciously fragrant tea. 
We thanked our hostesses by relating stories of our experiences. 
Then we sent telegrams with the tidings of our liberty to England, 
and on returning to my compartment I jotted down on a sheet 
of paper all the names, addresses, and messages that I could 
remember of those entrusted to me the previous day. 

Along part of our journey from the frontier we had the com- 
pany of some Dutch labourers who went into Germany every 
morning to work, and who also engaged in the regular smuggling 
of food-stuffs, especially butter, bacon, and cheese, into that 
country. One of the men showed me his well-thumbed local 
passport, which was stamped every day, and told me that Dutch 
food fetched a very good price across the border. I noticed that 
the bridges in Holland too were guarded, and that a couple of 
16 



242 THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 

sentries were posted in every railway station, for the country 
was in a state of mobilization. Nothing eventful happened during 
the rest of our train journey, except a visit at Rozendaal from 
the correspondent of The Times. 

We reached Flushing about eleven o'clock, and repaired to the 
station restaurant for supper. The Boer seated himself at a 
separate table and immediately became busy writing. A Dutch- 
man who was present said that he had just heard of the death of 
Lord Kitchener. We looked at one another incredulously : was 
that a Ruhleben rumour ? One by one we went into the office 
of the British Consul for the endorsement of our passports, and 
we all received the visa with the exception of the ' French 
Ambassador," who wished to join his brother in Holland, our 
mysterious Boer, and another ex-prisoner of German name. We 
showed our passports to a couple of youthful sentries, who could 
not have possibly read them in the dim light, and then went on 
board the Dutch mail-steamer to sleep. Among the passengers 
were a large number of young Belgian recruits, who were in high 
spirits. 

At seven o'clock the following morning (June 7) the vessel set 

sail. It ploughed its uneventful way steadily across the North 

Sea, on which we espied many a British man-o'-war guarding the 

' German Ocean." As we approached the Thames we took up 

a pilot, who confirmed the sad news of Lord Kitchener's death. 

We reached Gravesend at half-past six and found an attractive 
tea-table awaiting us on the platform, to which we did full justice. 
One of our party had to be carried on a stretcher by members of 
the Red Cross. At the other end of the platform, beyond a 
barrier, stood a group of people, ex-prisoners from Ruhleben 
and newspaper correspondents ; but we could not approach them 
until we passed the examination of the Aliens' Immigration 
Board, composed of representatives of various Government 
departments. 

At length, after all formalities were discharged and more 
telegrams were dispatched, we joined our friends and took the 
train to Victoria, discussing a thousand topics on the short 
journey. Soon I was plunged into the turmoil of the tumultuous 
station and hailed a taxi. 

' Sorry, sir," said the driver, when he heard my destination, 
" ain't got enough petrol." 



MY RELEASE 243 

" What ? " I exclaimed. " I've come all the way from Germany 
alter nineteen months' imprisonment, and you won't take me 
home ? 

" Beg pardon, sir, that's different," was the reply. ' Step 
inside, sir. I guess as 'ow you're rather 'appy to be back, sir," 

" I'm sure 1 am," was my response. 



APPENDIX 

OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE ON RUHLEBEN AFFAIRS 

The following is a chronological list of White Papers issued, under 
the general heading of " Miscellaneous," on various questions relating 
to the welfare of the British civilian prisoners interned in Germany 
and of German prisoners in the United Kingdom : — 

No. 5 (1915). — Correspondence between His Majesty's Government 
and the United States Ambassadors respecting the Treatment of 
German Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians in the United King- 
dom, March, 1915. [Cd. 7815.] 

No. 7 (1915). — Correspondence between His Majesty's Government 
and the United States Ambassador respecting the Treatment of 
Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians in the United Kingdom and 
Germany respectively, April, 1915. [Cd. 7817.] 

No. 8 (1915). — Correspondence between His Majesty's Government 
and the United States Ambassador respecting the Release of Interned 
Civilians ; and the Exchange of Diplomatic and Consular Officers, 
and of certain classes of Naval and Military Officers, Prisoners of 
War ; in the United Kingdom and Germany respectively, April, 1915. 
[Cd. 7857.] 

No. 11 (1915). — Reports of United States Officials on the Treatment 
of British Prisoners of War and Interned Civilians at certain places of 
detention in Germany, May, 1915. [Cd. 7861.] 

No. 13 (1915). — Note from the United States Ambassador trans- 
mitting a Report, dated June 8, 1915, on the Conditions at present 
existing in the Internment Camp at Ruhleben, June, 1915. [Cd. 7863.] 

No. 14 (1915). — Correspondence with the United States Ambassador 
respecting the Treatment of British Prisoners of War and Interned 
Civilians in Germany, June, 1915. [Cd. 7959.] 

No. 15 (1915). — Further Correspondence with the United States 
Ambassador respecting the Treatment of British Prisoners of War 
and Interned Civilians in^Germany, July, 1915. [Cd. 7961.] 

244 



APPENDIX 245 

No. 19 (1915). — Correspondence with the United States Ambassa- 
dor respecting the Treatment of British Prisoners of War and Interned 
Civilians in Germany, December, 1915. [Cd. 8108.] 

No. 3 (1916). — Correspondence with the United States Ambassador 
respecting the Conditions in the Internment Camp at Ruhleben, 
January, 1916. [Cd. 8161.] 

No. 16 (1916). — Further Correspondence with the United States 
Ambassador respecting the Treatment of British Prisoners of War and 
Interned Civilians in Germany, May, 1916. [Cd. 8235.] 

No. 18 (1916). — Report by Dr. A. E. Taylor on the Conditions of 
Diet and Nutrition in the Internment Camp at Ruhleben, received 
through the United States Ambassador, June, 1916. [Cd. 8259.] 

No. 21 (1916). — Further Correspondence respecting the Conditions 
of Diet and Nutrition in the Internment Camp at Ruhleben, July, 1916. 
[Cd. 8262.] 

No. 25 (1916). — Further Correspondence respecting the Conditions 
of Diet and Nutrition in the Internment Camp at Ruhleben and the 
proposed Release of Interned Civilians, July, 1916. [Cd. 8296.] 

No. 26 (1916). — Further Correspondence with the United States 
Ambassador respecting the Treatment of British Prisoners of War and 
Interned Civilians in Germany, August, 1916. [Cd. 8297.] 

No. 35 (1916).— Further Correspondence respecting the proposed 
Release of Civilians interned in the British and German Empires, 
November, 1916. [Cd. 8352.] 

No. 1 (1917). — Further Correspondence respecting the proposed 
Release of Civilians interned in the British and German Empires, 
January, 1917. [Cd. 8437.] 



INDEX 



Acting, 1 66 

Adler, F. Charles, 77, 159, 160 

Administration, 51-59 

Aerschot, outrage at, 99 

American Ambassador visits Camp, 
50, 85, 124 ; prisoners' relations 
with, 54-55 ; condemns barrack- 
loft as uninhabitable, 123, 150 ; 
views on recreation-room, 127 ; 
disburses Relief Fund, 152, 186 ; 
visits Camp theatre, 164 

American Church, Reading Room of, 
20 

American Embassy, as rendezvous of 
Englishmen, 19 ; opinion about 
internment, 22 ; visited by Camp 
Captain, 55 ; disburses British 
funds, 64, 68, 69, 186 ; supplies 
clothing, 73 ; and American prisoner, 
97 ; presumed representative of, 
100 ; makes representations for 
suppression of mosquitoes, 120 ; 
makes representations for addi- 
tional barracks, 122 ; consulted on 
medal question, 129 ; supplies 
passports, 174 

Anti-Semitism, 206—209 

Appells, 80 

Armstrong, Captain Heaton, 41 

Artists, 156, 167-168 

Arts and Science Union, 78, 147, 202 

Assassination of Austrian heir-ap- 
parent, 1 

Athletic sports, 137 

Auction, 232 

Australia, prisoners from, 113, 129 

Austro-Serbian War, 2 

Auswanderer Bahnhof, 28. See also 
Emigrants' Railway Station 

Bainton, E. L., 152, 159, 160 

Balkan Peace Conference, t 

Bank Holiday, 130, 136 

Barracks, number and condition of, 
52 ; officials of. 61 : wooden bar- 
racks, 82, 122-124 

Baseball, 139 

Baths, 77, 124 

Bavaria, 108, 114 



Bedding conditions, 30, 42, 49, 125 

Bed-time, 31, 120, 169, 199-220, 226 

Beer, 182 

Beetles in soup, 80 

Belgians, as prisoners at Stadtvogtei, 

9- 94- 97-99 
Belgium, Englishmen arrested in, 83, 

"3. 175 

Berlin, scenes before internment, 15- 
22 ; visits to, 215, 224 

Berne, bread from, 66 

Betting, 192 

Bill-posting station, 74 

" Bird-cage," 59, 230 

Black Forest, 35 

Blockade, British, 17 

Bloomer, Steve, 134, 135 

" Bloody " episode, 81 

Board of Education, 153 

Board of Trade, 152 

Boer giant, 95, 116 

Boiler-house, 125 

Bond Street, 67, 79, 117, 125, 144 

Bookseller, 212 

Boss, Alexander, 87, 141, 143-146, 239 

Boxing, 139 

Boys, as prisoners, 123 

Bread, scarcity of, 63, 85, 170, 179 ; 
condition and supply of, 66, 180 

" Breakfast," 32 

Bremen, prisoners from, 36 

British Consulate, in Berlin, 3 ; Eng- 
lishmen arrested at, 10 

British Relief Fund, offices raided by 
police, 19 

Brutality to Englishmen, instances of, 

27. 3*. 57 
Burns Nicht. 86 
Butchart, C. S., 55, 138 
Butter, 67 

Butterworth, Walter, 142 
By-Election, 140-146 

Cafes, 17, 91 

Camp Fund, 125, 148, 181 

Camp Message Service, 126 

Camps (other than Ruhleben), 36, 50, 

82-S3, 175, 233 
Canteens, 67-68/ 125, 182, 232 



146 



INDEX 



247 



Captain of Camp, 53, 131, 230, 235 
Captains, 38, 53, 60-61, 170-171, 230, 

23 1 

Captains' office, 53, 173, 226, 237 

Card-index (of prisoners), 215 

Card-playing, 128, 196 

Carpenters, 125 

Casement, Roger, 87 

Cashier, 38, 61 

Casino, 37, 112, 181-182 

Castang, Reuben, 87, 142-146, 166 

Catholics, 195 

Celle Camp, 82-83 

Cells, for punishment, 56 ; at Stadt- 
vogtei, 95 

Censorship of correspondence, 62, 82, 
213 

Charlottenburg, 28, 91, 123 

Chemistry, study of, 151 

Chess, 77, 78 

Choir (Church), 195 

Christmas, 78-79, 154, 164, 167, 176 

Church of England, 194-195 

Church bells, 217 

Cinderella pantomime, 11S, 163-164 

Cinema, 69, 128, 192, 206 

" Circles," 153 

Cleaning arrangements, 63, 65, 73 

Clothing for needy prisoners, 73 

Clubs, 127 

Cold, protection against, 73 

Colney Hatch, 194 

Colonial subjects, internment of , 84, 113 

Coloured prisoners, 115 

Commandant, 33, 51, 85 

Commandant, Acting, 29, 37, 109, 170, 
207 

Committees for Camp affairs, 60, 69 

Compensation for internment, 108, 192 

Concerts, 44, 77-78, 120, 131, 159-160, 
176, 227 

Continental Times, 19, 212, 213 

Contraband in parcels, 70 

Convalescent barracks, 122, 184 

Cooking arrangements, 182 ; cook- 
house, 232 

" Corner House," 127, 146 

Correspondence, 33, 61-62 

Cricket, 135-136 

Croquet, 139 

Crosland, G. L., 162 

Crown Prince, German. 39 

Deaths, 188, 199 
Debating Society, 69, 154, 200 
Delmer, Prof. F. S., 81, 154, 183 
Dentists, 186-187 
Detention barracks, 58-59 
Deutschfreundlich, deutschgesinvt, 104, 
208 



Diarrhoea, 45, 66, 80 
Dietary conditions, 178-182 
Discipline, 56-59, 82 
Doberitz Camp, 6, 106, 232 
Doctors, 172, 1S3-184 
Don't Laugh, 145, 163-164 
Dramatic societies, 69, 127, 160, 165 
Dresden, agitation for internment in, 

22 ; prisoners from, 35 
Drunkenness, 192 
Duncan- Jones, C, 160 

Eden, Sir Timothy, Bart., 166 
Education, committee for, 69, 152 
Educational activity, 128, 147-153 
Emigrants' Railway Station, 28, 37, 

40, 77, 120, 122, 185, 199, 204 
Empire Day, 137, 154 
Engineering, study of, 151 
Entertainments, 69, 86-87, I2 ^, 167 
Escapes, 58, 89, 123, 193 
Essen, 35 

Examinations (educational), 153 
" Exchange and Mart," 116 
Exchange of prisoners, 172—175,219— 

223, 225 ; question of proportion, 

221 
Exercise, 75 

Exhibitions of art, 167, 168 
Eye complaints, 187 

Falkenstein, Lieut, von, 39 

Fashions, 74, 119 

Fatigue parties, 68 

Fence, barbed wire, 82 

Ferrets, 122 

Finance, questions of, 68-69 

Fire-bell, 80, 231 

Firemen, 61, 64 

Fishermen as prisoners, S3, 114 

Flagstaff incident, 81-82 

Fleet Street, 117 

Flies, plague of, 120 

Flower-beds, 128 

Flushing, 242 

Food conditions, 178-182 

Food, shortage in Germany, 182, 213, 

238 
Football, 75, 132-135 
Foreign Office, 219, 220, 221, 227, 

237 
Frankfort-on-the-Main, 37, 107 

French Dramatic Society, 165 

Frenchmen, prisoners at Stadtvogtei, 

9-10 ; removed from Ruhleben, 83 ; 

prisoners at work, 240 
Friedrich Strasse, 10, 91, 224 
Fuchs, Carl, 77, 83 
Furloughs, 84, 214-216 



248 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 



Galsworthy, plays of, 161 

Gambling, 192 

Geiger, Dr., 173, 183, 184 

Gerard, J. W. See American Am- 
bassador 

German Dramatic Society, 165 

German Evangelists, 194-195 

Ghetto, 196 

Giessen Camp, 37 

Gliesch, " Rechnungsrat," 34, 88-89 

Glockel, Rittmeister von, 230 

Goch, 240 

Golconda (steamship), 221 

Golf, 133, 138-139 

Goodhind, Harold, 163, 166 

Grand Stand Hall, 78, 86-87, 128, 
158 ff. 

Gravesend, 242 

Grunewald, iS, 30 

Guards, 51-52 ; number of, 52 ; 
brutality of, 57, 197 ; removal from 
barracks, 170 ; views on war, 214 ; 
escorts on furlough, 215 ; removal 
to Emigrants' Station, 227 

Hair-dressing, 125 

Hamburg, agitation for internment in, 
22 ; prisoners from, 36, 37 ; bank 
clerks' holiday, 84 

Hamel, 233 

Handicrafts, 152 

Harden, Maximilian, 213 

Hate, doctrine of, 217 

Hatfield, H. S., i 49 , 160 

Haylofts, as living-rooms, 30, 47, 50, 
123 

Health conditions, 183-18S 

Heating deficiencies, 72, 169, 177 

Heidelberg, 35 

Heligoland, prisoner from, 108 

Hockey, 133, 139 

Holland, as medium of correspond- 
ence, 16 ; travelling through, 241 

Holzminden Camp, 50, 83, 233 

Homburg, 37 

Hoppegarten, 35 

Horse-boxes as living rooms, 30, 46, 
72, 112, 120-121, 124, 125 

Hospital. See Lazaret 

Hot water, supply of, 79-80, 198 

Humour in captivity, 76-77 

Insanity, 193-194 

Internment, agitation in Germany, 21- 
22 ; ultimatum to England, 22 ; 
order of, 24 ; preliminary regula- 
tions, 29-33 ; question of priority, 
35 

Invalids, internment of, 37, 85 

Irish players, 165 



Irish prisoners, secret meeting of, 
86; brogue of, 114; society of, 
129 

J 'Accuse, -2.15 

Jackson, j., 163 

Jews, segregation of, 40-50 ; number 
of, 40 ; ill-treated by guards, 48, 
197 ; varied origin of Jewish 
prisoners, 196 ; religious services, 
200-203 ; dinners for, 203-205 ; 
treatment by authorities, 206 

Jones, J. P. (Camp treasurer), 60, 68, 
230 

Journalists, 174, 242 

Jutland, Battle of, 232, 237 

Kaiser, 10, 16, 43, 109 ; alleged insult 
to, 58 ; birthday celebration of, 81, 
176 

Katz, Dr., 42, 46 

Keel, Prof. F., 162 

Kessel, General von, 85, 133, 166 

Kissingen, 37 

Kitchener, Lord, 242 

Kitchens, 64, 199 

Kommandantur (at Berlin), 39, 51, 98, 
104, 171, 227, 229, 235 ; representa- 
tives' visit to Ruhleben, 85 ; at 
Ruhleben, 215, 216, 220 

Kommis bread, 80 

Kosher food, 40, 44, 204-205 

Kriegsbrot, 170. See also ' War 
bread " 

Kriegsgefangener, 44 

Kultur, 48, 58, 217 

Laboratory, 151 

Lachmann, Dr., 34 

Lacrosse, 133, 139 

Lambert, S., 184-185 

Lamond, F., 39 

Lancastrians, 129 ; cricket match, 136 

Language, effect of internment on, 
112-113, 194 

— study of, 149-150, 153 

Latrines, 124 

Laundry, 62-63, II 5» 120; laundry- 
men, 61 

Lazaret, 56, 122, 172, 184-185 

Lechmere, Dr. A. E., 151 

Lectures, 111, 114, 120, 128, 148, 176, 
226 

Leipzig, agitation for internment in, 
22 ; food riots in, 214 

Letters, forwarding of, 19 

Liberty, restriction of, 4, 15, 189 

Libraries, 69, 77, 78, 153, 177, 208 

Lice, 120— 121 

Lighting arrangements, 49, 169, 171 



INDEX 



249 



Lining up, 27, 29, 32, 190 ; in Berlin, | 
224, 238 

Lion-tamers, 116, 198 

Literary and Debating Society, 154, 

208 
• Literature, study of, 153 
J " Lobster," 117 
. Lodz, prisoner from, 96 
i Lost property office, 56 

Luxembourg, prisoner from, 97 

; Magazines, no, 114, 129, 155-156 

! Marine engineers, 127 

1 Masterman, J. C, 136, 148, 230 

i Mathematics, study of, 151 

i Meals, 32, 34-35, 41-42, 66, 178-179 

j Measles, 122 

! Medal craze, 129 

I Medical service, 183-186 

] Mental effects, no, 189-194 

Messiah, performance of, 79, 208 

Meyer, Feldwebel, 57 

Mice, 120-122 

Military officers, 33-34, 51, 171 

Missionaries, repatriation of, 221 

Moabit Prison, 11, 19, 240 

Mock Trial, 87, 141 

Moewe, 233 

Mohr, Feldwebel, 34 

Money deposits and remittances, 33, 
61, 71 

Monotony, 190 

Moral conditions, 194 

Mosquitoes, 120 

Miiller, Rittmeister von, 34, 179 

Munich, agitation for internment, 22 ; 
prisoners from, 36 

Munitions, at Spandau, 218 

Munster Camp, 82-83 

Music, 44, 77, 115, 159—160 

Mutzenbecher, Rittmeister von, 141, 
145 

Naturalisation of prisoners, 196-197 

Nauheim, 37 

Negroes, S3, 115-116 

Newbury Camp, 21 

Newspapers, English, 1, 17, 70, 97 

— American, 20 

— German, 1, 17, 18, 21, 22, 76, 157, 
210-21 1, 217 

New Year's Day, 79, 176-177 
New Zealand, prisoners from, 113 
" Nursery," 123 

Occupations, 74, 190. See also Trades 

Oculist, 187 

Opera, 16 

Orchestra, 159-160, 208 

Organisation of Camp, 60-71 



Pantomime, 118, 192 

Parades, 32-33, 80-81, 130, 197, 230 ; 

the Parade, 114 
Parcels, how brought into Camp, 65 ; 

parcel post, 70-71 ; delivered by 

hand, 74-75 ; sent from England, 

182 
Paris, Kaiser's predicted capture of, 16 
Passover, 201 
Passports, 174, 220, 237 
" Pea-Nut," 115 
Peebles-Conn, J., 159 
" Pelote, la," 139 
Pentland, Fred, 134, 144 
Permit of residence, 6, 7, 12, 14, 15, 20 
Peters, Dr. Carl, 21 
Petticoat Lane, 196 
Phcenix Club, 127, 143 
Photographs, 229 
Pierrots, 131 

Ploetzensee Prison, 11, 83 
Poles, in prison, 92-93, 96, 100 
Police, reporting to, 6, 7, 14, 15, 20— 

21, 216 
Police force (of prisoners), 55-56, 138, 

171 
Police Presidency of Berlin, 6, 7, 10 
Polyglot elements, 42 
Pond Store, 67, 68, 85 
Post (in Camp), 126 ; suspension of, 

82 
Postmen, 38, 43, 61 
Potsdamer Platz, 17 
Powell, J. (Captain of Camp), 54, 131, 

230, 237, 238 
Prices, rise of, 16 
Priority of internment, 35 
Prison experiences. See Stadtvogtei 
Prisoners, number at Ruhleben, 52 
Prisoners' Pie, 156 
Pro-Germans, 78-79 ; varied origin 

of, 102 ; friction caused by, 103 ; 

segregation of, 105-106, 207 ; re- 
cruiting among, 106-109 
Prussian Library, Royal, 14, 16 
Publications, 155-157 
" Pumpernickel," 197, 199, 2 °° 
Punishments, 53, 56-59, 75 ; flagstaff 

incident, 81 ; for drunkenness, 192- 

193 ; for missing buttons, 231 

Quoits, 139 

Rabbi, visits of, 202-203 
Rats, 120-122 
Recreation, 75 

Recruiting of prisoners, 106-109, 21 r 
Red Cross trains, 217 
Reichstag, Ruhleben discussion in, 107, 
211, 215, 227 



250 



THE RUHLEBEN PRISON CAMP 



Release of prisoners, 220-225, 232, 

235 ff- 
Relief Fund, 68, 108, 123, 129, 152, 207 

Religious services, 194-195 

Reprisals, 35, 36 

Requiem, performance of Verdi's, 208 

Restaurants, 17 

Revierstube, 185 

Revue, 87, 145 

Rhineland, 107, 114, 229 

Roads, construction of, 65 

Roker, John, 162, 163 

Roll-calls, 130 

Roman Catholics, 194-195 

Rounders, 133 

Riidiger, Lieut., 55, 106, 107, 214, 220, 

221, 238 

Ruhleben British Association, 129 

Ruhleben Daily News, 117, 156 

Ruhleben Express Delivery, 126 

— Hebrew Congregation, 203 

— Supplies Delivery, 126 
Rumanian in prison, 98-100 
Rumours about release, 38, 226 ; 

various, 192 ; about exchange, 220 
Russians hunted in Schandau, 3 ; 
prisoners at Stadtvogtei, 7-14, 93, 
100 ; removal from Ruhleben, 83 ; 
Russian boys at Ruhleben, 117 ; 
prisoners at work, 240 

Sabbath, observance of, 44 
Samaritan Fund, Good, 183 
Sanatorium (of Dr. Weiler), 172, 185- 

186, 193 
Schandau, holiday at, 2-5, 12, 14 
Sckonungsbarracke, 122, 124, 184 
School, 149-153, 208 
Schwerin, Count von, 33, 51, 79, 85, 

88, 105, 145, 159, 171, 225, 228 
Scotsmen, 86, 129, 153 
Seamen, 36, 114, 151 ; release of, 

220 
Sennelager, 82-83 
Sentries, 51-52, 133. 171 
Serbian in prison, 97 
Seventh Day Adventists, 194 
" Seventy-two hours," 56 
Sewage system, 124 
Shakespeare, 111, 162 
Shaw, Bernard, plays of, 87, 161 
Sherlock Holmes, 58, 166, 212 
Shops, 69. See also Canteens 
Sickness, 183-186 
Skittles, 139 

Smoking in barracks, 171 
Smuggling of letters, 82, 88-89 ; of 

newspapers, 212 ; of food, 213, 241 
" Snobs," in, 127 
Snow, 177 



Socialists and Ruhleben, 107, 211, 

227 
Societies, 111, 129 
Society of Friends, 241 
Soldiers. See Guards 
Soup kitchens for poor, 16 ; for Jews, 

201 
South Africans, 129, 207 
Spandau, 90-91. 101, 131, 135, 175, 

192, 193, 218 
Spanish play, 166 
Sports, committee for, 69, 134, 139; 

ground for, 86 ; description of, 132- 

139 

Spy, author's arrest as Russian, 3 ; 
fear of Russian spies, 5 ; warning 
against spies, 19 ; suspected spies 
in prison, 95 ; spies at Ruhleben, 95 

Stables, housing in, 30 

Stadtvogtei Prison, author's first visit, 
7-14 ; second visit, 25-27 ; third 
visit, 88-101, 174, 200 ; its cosmo- 
politan character, 93 ; soldier im- 
prisoned, 216 ; other references, 20, 
3°, 53, 58, 59, 83, 116, 193, 234 

Stern, W., 144, 183 

Stock-Englander, 103, 113 

Stores, military, 80 

Students, 114, 191 

Studies, 167 

Sufferings, 31 ; in early period of 
internment, 37, 72 ; in health, 75, 
173 ; in camps of Senne, Celle, and 
Munster, 83 ; caused by insects, 
etc., 1 20-1 2 1 ; due to winter, 177 

Suicide, cases of, 97, 193, 194 

Sullivan, Tom, 137, 141 

" Summer House," 112, 127 

Sun-bathing, 128 

Supermen, 111 

Switzerland, bread from, 180 ; trans- 
fer to, 192 

Synagogue, 147, 194, 201-202 

Taube, Baron von, 33, 37, 39, 40-41, 

51, 78, 79, 81, 88, 103, 131, 134, 141, 

145, 171, 225, 232 
Taube, Baroness von, 131 
Taylor, Dr. A. E., reports of, 70, 71, 

1 79-1 8 1 
Tea-house, 37, 52, 82, 105, 109 
Tennis, 133, I37~ I 3 8 
Theatre (in Camp), 158, 192 
Theatres (in Berlin), 17 
Tilbury, 194 
Times, 17, 19, 212, 242 
Tin boxes, used for military purposes, 

63, 217-218 
Trades, 69, 74, 78, 125, 208 
Trading, prohibition of private, 205 



INDEX 



251 



Trafalgar Square, 79, 117 
Treasurer, 60, 68, 230 
Treharne, Prof. B., 160, 162 
Trinks, E. M., 53 
•' Twenty-five " Club, 127 

Unter den Linden, 6, 97, 224 

Vice, 194 

Victories, German celebration of, 17- 

18 ; announcement in Camp, 81 
Vienna, 114 
Visits to prisoners, 75, 213-214, 227- 

229 
Vorw&rts, 211 

Walks, compulsory, 75-76, 198 
War, prisoners' attitude to, 191, 212 
" War bread," 56 ; composition of, 
66, 179 



War Office, Prussian, 13, 36, 51, 63, 
75, 104, 106, 109, 178, 181, 227, 228, 
232, 235 

Washing arrangements, 32, 43, 123— 
124 

Water, supply of, 123-124 

Weiler, Dr., 172 

Whitewashing of barracks, 125 

Wilhelm Platz, 19, 22 

Wine, sale of, 229 

Wittenberg Camp, 75-76 ; horrors of, 

239 
Work, fatigue, 64-66 

Y.M.C.A. Hall, 150, 153, 176, 194-195. 

224, 231 
Yiddish, 42 
Yorkshiremen, 129 

Zakunft, Die, 213 



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24 



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Fiction 



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WILLIAM, BY THE GRACE OF GOD. 

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